The war is over on the location of Irvine’s new High School; it’s Site A, the one located near a soon-to-expand jail and a sealed toxic waste dump. The IUSD board voted 4-0 to go along with recommendations from after almost three years of “due diligence” which led to site approval from the California Department of Education and the state Department of Toxic Substances Control. Never mind an exhaustive investigation by Harvey Liss who used government files to document the chemicals near Site A and independent reason to outline the health risks. Never mind the districts out of date data on crime stats of schools near jails. Site A and only Site A was the new spot largely because it’s in Five Point’s strategic plan for homes and new neighborhoods.
The move to take Ira Glasky off the school board and hold a special election had no impact whatever on the Board’s vote, which likely would have voted 5-0 had he still been on the board. The location of Site A is designed to help Emile Haddad and Five Point Communities sell homes near a high school (with almost no mention of the prison nearby or the presence of a sealed toxic waste site).
This decision was inevitable. My first thought is “at least my daughter won’t go there.”
It will be interesting to see how the prison and new high school co-exists in the future and to monitor the long term health of students and teachers who will attend and work in this new school. It also makes it easy to see who Emile Haddad cuts checks to come election season.
Irvine traditionally names High Schools based on where they are located. Woodbridge High is in Woodbridge. University High in the University neighborhood. Northwood High is in Northwood Pointe. The next task is deciding what to name this new high school and to pick the nickname.
It’s high time IUSD starts naming high schools after people who had had a big impact on the community. Might we suggested “Emile Haddad High School?” Between his city council majority backed takeover of the Great Park, the deal for Site A, and the firm’s opposition to the Veteran’s Cemetery on the site of the Great Park it won’t control, why not call it Five Points High? Haddad High? It has a nice ring to it. As for nicknames, the “Wardens,” “the Guards” or “Inmates” works nicely for that jail tie in. If you’d rather focus on the toxic waste site, the “Toxic Avengers” works (anyone else remember that flick from Troma Films?). I’d also suggest “the Wildfire” due to the proximity to dangerous wildfires in the area that hit in 2007.
No, I’m not happy with this decision at all. The district’s unwillingness to consider anything but Site A is going to make it a little harder for a number of people to write that check for fundraisers that are practically non-stop. Perhaps I’ll write ones that benefit a more specific program, like Girl’s Tennis, Model UN, the Debate Team or the Northwood Theater program. Maybe Don Wagner can do a better job of getting more tax dollars from Sacramento or make it easier to pass a local parcel tax (keep dreaming). And then maybe Haddad can write a check with enough zeros in it to cover the annual fundraising effort every year. There’s certainly enough profit in the immediate future to do so.
Next up for IUSD, besides the unnecessary special election forced upon the district, is a proposed Technology Bond that appears to seek funds only from homeowners and not commercial property owners and a Technology plan that I believe has significant flaws, especially with its reliance on BYOD tech. Then again, that was the information in the robocall Irvine parents got months ago.
If you have a suggestion for the High School name and mascot, feel free to post it in comments.