YC keeps campus open
The Yuba City Unified School District Board of Trustees received a standing ovation at the regular meeting Tuesday night, after voting 5-2 to keep the Yuba City High School campus open during lunchtime.
“I'm very happy, especially after being at all the meetings,” YCHS sophomore Danae Bozza said after the meeting. “We were upset at (Mary) Henson's comments, though.”
Trustees David Karnegas and Henson voted against the revised policy to keep the campus open and allow students to continue to leave during their lunch period. Henson commented during board discussion that 13-, 14- and 15-year-olds “don't have a lot of brain power yet,” and was booed by the audience.
She stood by her other concerns, though, that during a sit-in conducted in February at the school, the students left a large pile of trash in the middle of the quad and did not display the responsibility they were trying to prove they had.
President Fred Northern, while reiterating that his personal preference is to have a closed campus, said, “The question is whether we are ready, and the answer is ‘no.'”
Trustees Michael Bohmann and Lonetta Riley received applause for supporting the change in policy, and both made comments about looking into the issue further down the road.
“I'm not saying we can't revisit this decision, but we need to hold more community meetings, more forums, and not in an isolated atmosphere,” Riley said.
Henson countered Riley by saying the issue came up at “three or four board meetings” prior to the spring 2005 ruling to close the campus and nobody spoke against it.
“Well, they are now,” Riley said to more applause.
Sophomore Michael Davis said he felt most of the board members were open to the 91 comments made at the March 13 meeting on the issue.
“They listened, and that was great,” he said. “It really affects us because we're sophomores, and my brother's a freshman, so we're pretty happy.”
The board also mentioned more improvements and upgrades that may assist in closing the campus in the future and accommodating the students. Concerns had essentially centered around seating and covering in the quad area for 2,000 students; slippery cement; fights in a confined area; and whether there was adequate food and time for everyone to eat in the 32-minute period.
Superintendent Nancy Aaberg said district officials already planned to sandblast the slippery areas of the cement to give it more traction and said canopies and additional built-in covered eating areas will be added during this summer's break.
“When will it be ready? We don't know,” Northern said before the final decision. “But the fact is, it's not ready now.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Kymm Mann can be reached at 749-4707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.