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Commentary: City thinking ahead with school agreement

June 16, 2012|By Chuck Cassity

My friends and acquaintances, as well as those who have read my many offerings to the Daily Pilot over the years, are aware how very dedicated my wife, Elaine, and I are to our Costa Mesa schools.

I volunteered for 13 years on various committees for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, including the Measure A bond issue, and served as the founding and first president of both the Eagle Pride Foundation and the Estancia-TeWinkle Schools Foundation.

My four daughters attended California Elementary, TeWinkle Middle and Estancia High schools. All graduated with honors. All received their magna or summa cum laude degrees from California universities. And as for giving back, our eldest daughter, Tiana, taught at California Elementary for years before moving on to teach in Temecula. Our daughter Dana, District Teacher of the Year for 2011, teaches AP English at Costa Mesa High School, and her husband, Scott Kahawai, is the history department chairman at Estancia.

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My bona fides thus established, I would like to publicly thank the Costa Mesa City Council for having just agreed to preliminarily budget vital funding to help create and maintain an all-weather sports and athletic field at Mesa. The council has earmarked money to develop construction drawings.

This arrangement will permit the city to partner with NMUSD to improve the currently unlighted and unimproved track complex so that, if found acceptable to both parties, it may be used not only by the school during the day, but also by residents when lighted in the evening. Thus, improving an asset already owned by the community while making it available to even more of our citizenry makes great economic sense.

Obviously, the necessary first step will be establishing an agreement on the concept between the city and NMUSD governing approvals for the field and its usage. Next, bids will be let for architectural drawings, likely leading to bids for the ultimate construction project. No date for these steps has yet been established, but I understand the desire is to move forward as quickly as possible.

This is the first such donation or investment from the city to NMUSD in many years, and I hope more such efforts will be undertaken in the future.

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