Op-ED: CCAISD should shift its priorties


We start out the new year without Superintendent Marc Puig and with newly named Debbie Engle as interim superintendent.

It’s time to begin looking at priorities other than a new sports stadium, field house and renovations to the auditorium. It’s time to put some dollars into academia, such as the culinary arts program – a program that has taken the country by storm.

Culinary arts as a chosen profession for young persons has become a “cool” occupation because it offers so many advantages without having to invest heavily in a four-year college degree. Just watch the Food Network or the Cooking Channel.

Joy Scott has done a tremendous job with her limited resources in teaching young students the art of cooking good food. It’s time to recognize that this trend of learning how to cook is only going to grow exponentially.  While culinary school attracts people of all ages, it has a particular attraction to young people because of the earnings potential to become a real chef at an early age.

Culinary schools tend to be fairly expensive in comparison to traditional college, but the rewards can be worthwhile if hired as a chef at a restaurant in a major city. Yes, it may take a few years to make $60,000 per year, but most chefs will tell you that they do what they do because of their love for cooking.

CCAISD should promote this hidden gem by throwing more funding behind the program. Ms. Scott is exactly the right person to manage a larger culinary arts program that will prepare students to enroll in a certified culinary arts institution following graduation.

We’ve said this before. Some graduates are not geared for a four-year college degree or even an Associate degree. Some students thrive in a hands-on environment, such as cooking. The earnings potential for a newly certified chef may not be ideal in the beginning, but eventually, those earnings will increase with experience.

It’s time that CCAISD look at our academic programs that will advance the livelihood of our students when there is no other alternative.  If we have the money to fund a stadium, a track field a field house and renovations to the auditorium, then we need to find the money to fully fund a worthy program such as the culinary arts with everything that program needs.

That would include a new kitchen with multiple islands for several students, enough money to have a fully stocked kitchen for cooking, ample refrigeration and freezers and everything required by modern cooking techniques.

We owe it to those students who take an interest in culinary arts.

It’s also time that we look closely at renovating our band hall. The band hall should have been included in the renovations for the auditorium because they are adjoined.
Mr. Short was kind enough to let Our Lady of Fatima Church borrow four timpani for our after-Christmas Mass. Having played timpani in high school and in college, these timpani are simply antiquated for our students. One of them will not keep its pitch. In fact, I would venture that these are the same timpani I played in high school at least 30 years ago.

This is unacceptable. If we are going to offer extracurricular activities to our students, then funding should be equal. The same amount of money that goes to sports should go to theatre, band, vocational training, culinary arts and general academics.



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