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The San Benito High School District Board of Trustees found
itself in a situation last week where, depending on its decision,
Trustees could have forfeited nearly $8 million in state matching
funds toward the construction of the high school expansion.
The Board made the correct decision to continue with its
original plans to build an administration building and not lose the
millions of dollars from the state. But expansion of the San Benito
High School campus is not the ultimate answer to overcrowding at
the high school. It is delaying the inevitable.
District officials must begin serious planning for a second high
school at their designated site on Best Road to fully address the
long-term needs of the students and the district.
The San Benito High School District Board of Trustees found itself in a situation last week where, depending on its decision, Trustees could have forfeited nearly $8 million in state matching funds toward the construction of the high school expansion.

The Board made the correct decision to continue with its original plans to build an administration building and not lose the millions of dollars from the state. But expansion of the San Benito High School campus is not the ultimate answer to overcrowding at the high school. It is delaying the inevitable.

District officials must begin serious planning for a second high school at their designated site on Best Road to fully address the long-term needs of the students and the district.

Last year, nearly 2,700 Haybaler freshmen through seniors wandered the campus, and many officials and community members felt the high school was too large. This year, about 200 more students are enrolled, pushing the number to nearly 2,900 students.

The expansion just west of the main campus and along Nash Road is an appropriate measure for the district. It will add 28 much-needed classrooms to the campus, helping with overcrowding and hopefully reducing the student-to-teacher ratio, all for the benefit of the student.

Officials are also playing it smart, by not necessarily sticking to the original plan of having the expansion a self-contained freshman campus. Officials are now considering using all or part of the 28 classrooms for small learning academies and parts for special education.

And as long as an administration building is constructed, the district will not forfeit the matching funds from the state, which one official projected the district will have nearly $5 million remaining from the total construction costs, and this money can be used on other expansion projects.

However, with the expansion in use, officials estimate the entire campus can accommodate about 3,200 students, roughly 300 to 400 students more students than are currently enrolled.

For the future, for the community, and for the kids, energies must now be put toward the district’s second high school before administrators are forced to play catch-up and students fall through the education cracks.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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