Some Weed parents want Weed High School to part ways with current district

Mike Meyer
Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers
Weed High School celebrated their graduates in style in an outdoor ceremony on June 10, 2021.

Several Weed parents last Thursday asked the city council to consider a resolution to withdraw Weed High School from the Siskiyou Union High School District and form a new district with Weed Elementary School. 

The thrust of the six opinions on the subject was autonomy. The Weed parents wanted their kids back in the classroom during the past year but were not heeded by the district, which is composed of Weed, Happy Camp, Mount Shasta and McCloud high schools.

"Despite 10 months of parent meetings, district (officials) refused to honor what parents' requests were," said Kevin Charter during public comment.

"Throughout COVID, there were extremely disparate opinions among all four communities about in-person education. And for whatever reasons, the board decided to continue with online education right until the very end of the year.

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"We saw Yreka, Dunsmuir, and especially Weed Elementary taking the lead, correctly in our opinion as parents, to provide the best quality of education, which was in-person instruction."

Speaker Debbie Gold asked the council to begin studying "the feasibility" of reunification.

Juliette Charter has one student at Weed High School and one at Mount Shasta High School. "The cultures of Weed and Mount Shasta are different. Parents were frustrated this year."

Darcy Lee said she had moved her child from Weed's high school to Yreka's. "I work at the (Weed) elementary school, and watching the high school over the years, I feel there is a big disconnect between them. Reunification would really fix that problem."

Jon Ray, the Principal and Superintendent of Weed Union Elementary School District, told the council that he has received "a number of requests that we look at why Weed folks can't make decisions for Weed kids."

Ray explained that reunification would take money to put the issue before the voters and then send it to the county board of education for study.

"But if a city council were to do it there's no cost to the school district or the city. It does not go automatically to the ballot, but requires the Office of Education to do a study and hold public hearings to see if this is truly what the public wants," Ray said.

Weed Police forgo pay increase

The police officers in Weed voted to extend their current contract with the city without a pay increase for the next fiscal year, 2021/2022.

The gesture was solidified in a memorandum of understanding between the Weed Police Officer’s Association and the City of Weed. The MOU was approved at Thursday’s meeting.

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"We believed as a group that the time for negotiations should be extended another year to help with the city's financial situation," said Officer Tim Green in an interview. Green is president of the Weed POA. The membership vote was unanimous.

Police, along with all city employees, took a 10% pay reduction in March of 2020 to relieve the burden that the COVID-19 pandemic caused. Full pay for the police was restored in April of this year.

Tentative approval for Weed High School 4th of July fireworks booth

The city council approved a permit for a fireworks booth, but asked the applicant, the Weed High School Football Team, to consider another location.

The coach of Weed's varsity football team, Glenn Gonzales, applied for a permit in "South Weed, Silva's property,” where the Silva's Family Restaurant was located, at 1886 Shastina Drive. The restaurant closed in 2016 due to a fire.

It was the proximity of the property to the Valero gas station that gave councilors pause. A city ordinance requires 300 feet between fireworks and a gas station. As discussed by councilors and Police Chief Justin Mayberry and Fire Chief Steve Duncan, only the far corner of the property on Shastina Drive would be acceptable, according to the ordinance.

After further discussion, a second location, 488 South Weed Blvd, was included with the tentative permit, as an alternative location for the applicant to consider.

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During a break, Chief Duncan answered a related concern regarding the setting off of fireworks during escalated fire danger due to drought conditions.

"They'll sell only California-approved fireworks – nothing that shoots off the ground. Firecrackers, sparklers, stuff like that," Duncan explained.

The Weed football program raises money every year through fireworks sales to fund equipment purchases and summer camps.

City's cold shoulder for pet pig permit protested by applicant

A Weed resident who applied for a special permit for her pot bellied pet pig Cardi, but was denied by the city, appealed to the city council Thursday to allow the pig to stay on the premises.

After questioning the petitioner, Kathy Lafortune of Grove Street, the council learned that a fence around Lafortune's yard was missing a 15 foot section; also that there was a pool in the yard.

Following further discussion, the councilors agreed, 3-1, to allow the pet to stay put on the premises. However, the fence is to be repaired within 90 days to prevent public passage to a pool, and to augment a pen made of pallets for the pig on the premises as an additional enclosure.

The newspaper was unable to reach Lafortune for further comment.