Making BMS better

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The litany of problems at Baker Middle School has been well-chronicled, in these pages and elsewhere, the past few years.

The campus' flaws, and a passel of proposed fixes, have dominated public discourse while the school board and other proponents of building a new school twice tried, and twice failed, to convince a majority of voters to increase their property taxes to pay for a new school.

The latest suggested solution to install a device that will lift students who use wheelchairs to the second floor of the Helen M. Stack Building, while in their wheelchairs is a good one. We hope the school board, which delayed its decision on the matter Tuesday, budgets the estimated $55,000 needed to do the work this summer.

This idea is especially welcome because it came not from the school board or from school officials, but from students in Mike Long's physical science classes.

Earlier this year, the district had an employee carry the student to the second floor a dangerous scheme. So dangerous, in fact, that this winter, when the stairs became wet and slick, officials decided to have teachers descend to the first floor so students in wheelchairs needn't go upstairs.

By allocating money to install the wheelchair lift, the school district board would show that it doesn't intend to ignore serious problems at the middle school while waiting, perhaps in vain, for voters to approve a bond measure to build a new school.

The board addressed a separate problem last fall when it asked the City Council to move the bus-loading zone so students don't have to cross Washington Avenue. The City Council made that change.

We urge the school board to continue to deal with problems at the middle school as far as that's possible given the district's budget constraints.

If the board does so it might even transform some andquot;noandquot; voters, who were leery about paying for a new school because they think the district has failed to take care of its existing buildings, into andquot;yesandquot; voters if the bond levy makes it to the ballot for a third time.

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The Baker City Herald
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Wednesday September 28, 2016

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