To prevent the Central High School West Campus from becoming a “ghost town” when the district’s new high school opens in 2021, a school board incumbent and several candidates discussed the possibility of turning it into a magnet school for Career Technical Education.
Atkins was the only incumbent on the November ballot who participated in the hour-long forum. Three challengers in the races for trustee seats — Jason Paul, Yesenia Carrillo, and Naindeep Singh Chann — also attended.
Absent were candidate Shawn Brooks and three incumbents running for re-election: Rama Dawar, Cesar Granda, and Ruben Coronado.
Atkins was the most vocal of the candidates at the meeting and often was the first to answer questions from community members.
Turning West Campus Into Magnet School
Although he is in support of career technical education programs now offered at Central West, Atkins said he wants the campus to offer regular high school courses so students have the capability of taking classes required to go to college.
“The classes won’t be as elaborate as at (Central East High East campus) or the new campus, but it will still be there as a foundation for those kids who desire to go onto a four-year college or a two-year college,” Atkins said.
Carrillo said turning the West campus into a magnet school is great, but she would be more comfortable waiting on plans for the new high school and evaluating what the needs are at that time.
“I think that is definitely one of the things that we are going to have to be looking into when exploring the constant increase in our student population,” Carrillo said.
Paul said the idea sounds great, but only if the district can afford it.
“If that is where we want to go it has to make financial sense,” Paul said.
Chann said change is bound to come to the district and noted there is a “palpable excitement” among community members.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Central Unified,” Chann said.