Board must listen to those it serves
Grand Terrace's new - and long-awaited - high school will be named after a longtime Colton resident.
Yes. Yes, really.
No matter that 34 percent of the nominations made for the school's name favored Grand Terrace High School. No matter that the cities of Colton, San Bernardino, Redlands, Fontana - most cities, really - have schools named in their honor.
Nope, the Colton Joint Unified School District, which serves students in five cities, voted 5-1 recently to name its newest high school after Ray Abril Jr., a former district board member who lives in Colton.
Let us be clear: We have nothing against Mr. Abril, who served the district with dignity for 28 years.
Nor do we believe Mr. Abril should decline this tribute, as some have suggested in letters printed here. This is an honor that Mr. Abril and his family should be allowed to cherish.
But we can't ignore the frustration that is evident among district families who see the school board's decision as a "slap in the face," as one parent put it.
Grand Terrace has waited a long time for a high school - longer than it should have had to wait, truth be told.
The district began to plan for its third high school back in 2001, when voters approved a $102 million bond. But increased costs and a lengthy planning process delayed progress on the high school; meanwhile, the district spent some $70 million on improvements and costs related to school construction.
In November, the district dared to approach voters again, and voters - parents, grandparents and concerned citizens who want students to have every chance to succeed - approved another $225 million bond to fund actual construction of the Grand Terrace high school and other projects.
For that, we think the school board owes voters. Voters at least have earned the right to state their preferences for the names of schools in their communities, and the right to expect board members to hear them. Really hear them.
This time around, though, board members asked for feedback and then blithely went ahead with naming the school after one of their own, disregarding the very input they sought.
We hope the school board learns a lesson from the public tongue-lashing it's getting in this newspaper and gives the communities it serves a real say in future decision-making.
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