In less than thirty minutes, the Fresno Unified School Board squashed a 30-year-old debate. Wednesday night, they voted unanimously to build the first-ever middle school in Southwest Fresno. Right now, 7th and 8th students are bused to other schools throughout the district.
Prior to the vote, board member Cal Johnson used a metaphor to describe the area. "West Fresno being like Johannesburg, South Africa. We take our kids early in the morning and send them across town and then we bring them back in the evening."
Under the newly approved plan, Carver Academy, which currently houses 108 students ... will be demolished to make room for the 22-acre middle school campus.
In order to accomplish this, 38 homes and a church near the school will have to be purchased....and then demolished.
Fairy Miles, which has lived in her Southwest Fresno home for 35 years, says although the plan is good for students ... moving will be an inconvenience. "I don't know where I'd live. I haven't given it a thought."
Debbie Darden ... shares those same concerns.
The Golden Westside Planning Committee member, says while the group has been advocating a middle school for years, they prefer using a vacant property across the street from Carver. But, it belongs to the West Fresno School District ... and an agreement could not be made on its use.
"The children are our priority. So, we are getting a school. However we are still in opposition in regards to any homeowners. But, neither said nor done, that was a decision that they did make," said Darden.
Moving forward, the school board says it will find other schools for the 108 Carver students who will be displaced. They also have plans to start a committee, which will include community members who will help make specific plans for the school.
If all goes well, the new school will open in time for the 2013-2014 school year.