Saying he was appalled at maintenance conditions at John F. Kennedy High School, Councilman Paul F. Walker this week criticized the Anaheim Union High School District.
Walker said at a City Council session that the district, which is in charge of Kennedy High, has neglected the school and its students.
“You need to see for yourself,” Walker said. “The conditions there are deplorable.”
Harald G. Martin, board president of Anaheim Union High School District, responded to Walker’s comments by saying that trustees have long been aware of needs at Kennedy High but have been stymied by a lack of funds.
“For many years there was the situation of declining enrollment in the district,” Martin said. State funding is based on number of students, and lower enrollment meant less money, he said.
“We also had the situation of the county bankruptcy,” Martin said. When the county, keeper of school district funds, declared bankruptcy in 1994, school money was frozen for many months.
Martin said the district’s financial situation has now improved and school enrollment is rising. Nonetheless, he said, the district does not have “the millions” it needs for major improvements at Kennedy High, including adding an auditorium and repairing the swimming pool.
Martin said the district is considering sale of five acres of Kennedy High land to help pay for improvements at the school.
Walker, who is a county firefighter and president of the Walker Junior High parent-teacher organization, has opposed sale of Kennedy High land, however.
In his speech at the council meeting this week, he said the high school district already has adequate maintenance money from property taxes.
“My question to Anaheim is, ‘Where has my maintenance tax dollar gone in the last 14 years?’ ” Walker said.