Native America Project

Troubled district won’t close school after all

Career Prep High School Principal Joyce Rock standing outside the high school.

CCSD news release

Career Prep High School Principal Joyce Rock standing outside the high school.

The Central Consolidated School District's board reversed on Thursday a prior decision to close an alternative high school in Shiprock.

The Farmington Daily-Times is reporting that the decision came after more than 100 students pleaded with the district to keep the school open despite budget cuts. That included Harley Hoskie, 19 and a junior at the school, who told officials he had tried to commit suicide twice while attending two previous high schools because he was bullied and felt miserable.

But Career Prep High School, the Daily-Times quoted Hoskie as saying, "changed me a lot." He was also quoted in the article as saying:

"When I first came here, I was really anti-social, my hair was in my face, and I always wore black. Now, I wear my hair out of my face, and I hold my head high."

The newspaper reported that the district had planned to close the school to save $1.7 million annually and help address a $4 million shortfall. But the district learned Thursday of an additional $3 million in federal funds coming its way next school year.

The school district touts the success of Career Prep High on its website with a news release about the school more than doubling its graduation rate between 2011 and 2012 -- from 21.7 percent to 44.6 percent.

The district isn't expected to reverse another recent decision to lay off 43 teachers to save money, the Daily-Times reported.

Central Consolidated has been plagued by controversy in recent times. Last year, the state rejected a proposal to split the district that the Daily-Times had reported was motivated at least in part by racial and religious divisions.

In addition, the state Attorney General's Office is looking into allegations of bribery involving the superintendent and several school board members.

To keep up with news about the school district, you can check the Daily-Times' new Navajo Nation webpage or follow its Navajo Nation reporter, Jenny Kane, on Twitter @jenny_kane.