Helena needs a high school

Published 4:38 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just a couple of weeks ago, a group began on the social networking site, Facebook, dedicated to the cause of helping Helena get a high school.

Today, the group stands almost 1,200 strong, and discussion about a Helena High School is growing, both online and in our communities.

Much of the current discussion is in response to the Board of Education’s recent approval of a $3 million bid to expand Pelham High School.

Kym Rollan, one of the founders of the Facebook group, said Pelham High School needs more classrooms only because of the constant addition of students from Helena. If a Helena High School was built, Pelham’s overcrowding problem would be instantly solved.

While we understand Rollan’s point of view, we also understand why the board chose to go ahead and approve the addition. The Pelham High addition will cost $3 million, a fraction of the $30 million it would take to build another high school.

As the Pelham student body is now, the school badly needs the expansion. Even if there is eventually a Helena High School built, Pelham will continue to grow and the extra classrooms will be put to good use.

However, we urge the Board of Education not to forget about this issue. Rather, the board should begin putting together a comprehensive plan to fund and build a Helena High School, complete with a timeline to let the public know when such a project will happen.

Helena is the third-largest city in Shelby County, period, but the only city not to have a high school. The city will only continue to grow and add families, and those families deserve to be served by a Board of Education focused on meeting their needs.

We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County editorial board.