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Letters to the editor

Councilman unfairly targeted for role in school improvements

A letter to editor last week unfairly targeted Councilman (Cam) Walker, and contains information that is not accurate regarding the phased replacement of Boulder City High School. I have no issue with anyone who expresses an opinion about whether the city needs a new high school or not. I do take issue with Councilman Walker being vilified.

It is important to know that Councilman Walker came into this process late. This process began more than 10 years ago, before Cam was assigned the Community Education Advisory Board seat reserved for a Boulder City Council member.

For more than 10 years, many staff members at the high school (who are also on the board), alumni and parents expressed to CEAB the need for a new high school. In fact, the Community Education Advisory Board was formed because of all of the problems with infrastructure at the high school.

In the late 1990s, many of the founding members of CEAB contacted the media, who would show up with cameras to highlight all the issues with the school. At that time, there were many toilets not even working at the school. CEAB was able to get basic repairs done and helped lobby for Phase I improvements: the new gym, library, cafeteria and some classrooms.

All this was done before I joined CEAB as a parent volunteer. I have been president for the past three years.

The funding for Phase II and III was not available for a variety of reasons, including rampant growth in Southern Nevada. Some schools in Southern Nevada even had to go to double school-day sessions to accommodate students until schools could be built. There has been so much time between Phase I and II that I believe many people forgot those improvements were only Phase I.

Councilman Walker’s only role was to help secure the funding for Boulder City High School. It is not his role to design the school, or ask individual teachers what they would like in their classrooms. That is the Clark County School District’s function. Teachers should be relaying their concerns to their boss and employer.

Councilman Walker attended many Clark County School District meetings, even traveling to other communities to monitor funding being given to other schools. He tirelessly fought for Boulder City to get its fair share of school funding. He monitored CCSD facility budgets. When he realized there was leftover bond money, he worked hard to ensure that funding was earmarked to continue the phased replacement of Boulder City High School.

It is not his role to query school staff. However, in early fall, he went above and beyond what was required for a councilman, and met with a group of teachers who invited him to come to school and discuss the project.

In October, he also invited a small group of teachers and CCSD administrators to meet with him one evening at his office to hear some of the concerns teachers had, and try to address some of the comments before the architect started designing the school. To say that he has not bothered to talk to teachers is not only unfair, it is also untrue.

CEAB is made up of teachers, staff and administrators (from each school, including the high school) along with parents and local community organization representatives. We meet three or four times each year and almost every meeting included a discussion of the needs at Boulder City High School and what CCSD has promised but had forgotten to finish. One high school staff member routinely shared photos of her office flooding and other issues and asked for help to get funding for a new high school for Boulder City.

More than eight years ago, CCSD invited BCHS school administrators, community leaders, and parents to participate in facilitated brainstorming sessions to obtain community input. At one of those meetings, there was a CCSD proposal to realign the front of the school to Avenue G. I informed CCSD staff of the historic significance of the front of the school and flag pole lining up with the flag pole and Bureau of Reclamation building. CCSD staff and the architects accompanied me to the top of California Street to understand the historic design of the city, and importance of the front of the school remaining on Fifth Street. CCSD staff agreed, and we moved forward on other aspects of the design.

I also took this group on a tour of Hoover Dam to help inspire them to incorporate and honor our history into any new design. Many of us used vacation time from work to attend these meetings and tour new schools in Las Vegas. Cam Walker was not even on the council during this process. We did this work at the invitation of CCSD personnel who wanted to ensure the new school reflected the wishes of the community.

No one design will make everyone happy; and it is clear not everyone agrees a new school is needed. One thing I hope we can all agree on, is that our high school needs and deserves more funding. Regardless of which side of the issue you are on, it is unfair to attack Councilman Walker for securing promised funding for BCHS.

Roxanne Dey

Outgoing CEAB president

Miele’s column handles tough subject with class

I really enjoyed Rose Ann Miele’s column of Feb. 19. She tackled a socially delicate subject deftly and with class.

For some, negativity and hate are knee-jerk responses to every situation and every problem. It’s understandable. Negativity and blame don’t require much thought, but empathy and understanding ask more of you.

Well done, Rose Ann!

Matt Di Teresa

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