The city of Fairfield and the Fairfield-Suisun School District are poised to step things up several notches in terms of meeting the needs of at-risk and troubled children and teens.
City Council and school board members, and their respective staffs, will meet in a rare but encouraging joint session Tuesday to discuss what’s tentatively called, in true bureaucratic fashion, the proposed Interagency Youth Services Center.
The plan calls for reopening the shuttered Sullivan Middle School and making it the base of operations for a wide array of programs and services offered by the schools, the city, the county and various community organizations that serve our youth population.
If the concept is approved by the school board and the council, staff from each agency will draft a specific shared use agreement that details the responsibilities of each. Once that’s approved, it’s off to the races.
Chief Walt Tibbet of the Fairfield Police Department said he hopes to have some programs up and running there this spring. He said the majority of the school-based programs would likely move there this fall with the start of the 2013-14 academic year.
This is an idea whose time has come.
The Matt Garcia Youth Center with its Police Activities League programs is bursting at the seams. The lease for the Travis Boulevard site ends in 2017, and represents a financial burden of sorts for the city with the demise of redevelopment, which paid the $152,000 annual lease and continues to do so through the temporary successor agency. The Sullivan site, a victim of budget cuts leading into the current school year, was renovated in recent years and will only deteriorate if left vacant. The services that will likely be housed at the proposed center already exist, but are currently spread out all over the place.
Most importantly, such a center will better serve the at-risk youth of Fairfield and Suisun City. They are, after all, a big part of our future. The more at-risk youth we can keep in school, and keep out of jail, now, the better off we will be as a community in years to come.
This plan shows vision. This plan has promise. Let’s get it done.
Then we can talk about the center’s name.