EDITORíS DESK: A more distant hammer
It feels a little more distant this time.
When the District 11 Board of Education dropped the hammer in 2009, it struck at the very heart of the Westside. Three long-time neighborhood schools shut down, two had to move, and a brand- new one (West Elementary inside the West Middle School building) was created.
Other than the Westside's loss of the Bijou School - and worries that the board's upcoming boundary changes will dilute Coronado's traditional "Westside high school" status - the main impacts from the Feb. 6 board vote will hit the central and eastern parts of the district, as people there cope with the loss of Wasson High School and two elementaries. Just one observation on that situation, regarding Hall of Fame pitcher (and Wasson alumnus) Goose Gossage's decision to fire a "high, hard one" at D-11 officials: Didn't baseball make him a millionaire? If he really cares so much about his old school, why didn't he offer a major donation to keep it open? Because in the end, it really is the constant money drain that's driving D-11 into this painful "utilization" stance.
Ironically, the Bijou School, an alternate high school, was one of those relocated in the 2009 vote (from the one-time Bristol school site to the building vacated by Whittier Elementary's closure). Is moving it again a smart move by the board? Debatable - as any decision would be - but the main worry now for Bijou proponents is that, as part of an alternate-program complex at the Wasson site, it will be less of an individualized, nurturing presence for teenagers with problematic lives. But at least Bijou will continue, and as an all-choice school it really could operate (and has done so more than once in its long history) in any part of town. Those from the Westside who want to stay with it will be offered bus transportation by the district. Plus, to paraphrase board member Al Loma, being part of a complex might prove beneficial, presenting students with a wider range of opportunities than they have now at the current little campus by itself.