New school is worth the effort

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After what looked like a broadside to the good ship U.S.S. CDA School District earlier this week, there are hints that it might end up being a narrow miss from friendly fire.

The school district has been working feverishly on a way to get a new elementary school built on Prairie Avenue, where school officials purchased property in May. The district had promised voters in the spring of 2017 that passage of a bond would include a new elementary school in the rapidly growing northwest portion of the district. Just short of 80 percent of voters agreed to increase their property taxes as a result, and school district officials have been doing their utmost to make it happen. The target is opening the new school in autumn 2020.

But a ballistic missile launched Monday by Lakes Highway District appeared to blow up the school district’s plans. In tabling the permit request, the highway district said further study is needed — which was stunning news to school officials who had no indication of anything but a green light. “Further study,” in government speak, often is code for “one dead piece of meat.”

What followed that Monday night highway district meeting was a good 36 hours of anxiety. The following night, Tuesday, the Coeur d’Alene City Council approved an annexation request from the school district that’s needed for the new school to built, but without Lakes Highway District’s blessing, the school district was stuck.

Thankfully, the anxiety has largely given way to good communication. A foundation of possible cooperation is being laid. The highway district board and the school board have agreed to a joint meeting Nov. 27.

It’s our hope that an open, direct exchange of information will lead to a way for Lakes Highway District and Coeur d’Alene School District to both fulfill their responsibilities to the public. To the vast majority of Coeur d’Alene School District patrons, that means a new school on Prairie Avenue to alleviate overcrowding and ease the district’s heavy reliance on unsafe portable classrooms.

Here’s wishing both districts the very best of luck in that meeting. Our community needs this school. Let’s get ‘er done.

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