LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Community needs another high school

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Another public high school is needed in our greater College Place/ Walla Walla community.

Currently, public school families have two choices: Lincoln High School, a small alternative high school, or the 1,900-student Walla Walla High School.

Over the last five years the state reported on-time graduation rate for Walla Walla Public Schools is about 80 percent, which parallels similar districts with large high schools.

Improving our community's graduation rate is critical and one reason why I support a high school in College Place. A new high school would significantly reduce student numbers at our aging and overcrowded Wa-Hi.

A new high school gives College Place a rare first opportunity to establish cutting-edge curriculums and graduation requirements for those who choose to attend. In addition, a new school could provide opportunities to fully capitalize on existing resources at local colleges, businesses, a future vocational skills center and on the Internet.

In the near future College Place could be required to pay our share for a new (or remodeled) Walla Walla High School even though state law will not allow College Place to vote on its passage. One key question for College Place residents is whether we want our school tax share to fund a new Wa-Hi or a new College Place high school.

After 50 years of studying K-14 outcomes and options, it is my opinion that a 400- to 600-student high school in College Place will complement the educational strengths of Lincoln and Wa-Hi, significantly improve our community's graduation rate, and offer an important third high school choice to our public school families.

Dick Cook

College Place

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