Guest column by Steve Kim – Fate of a Catholic high school determined at Dec. 5 LAFCO meeting

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Every school day more than 450 young people from the South Valley travel up to two hours each way to attend a Catholic high school, putting additional cars on the road and greenhouse gases into the environment, contributing to the horrible commute traffic and poor air quality. This also means that many South County teens are not full participants in their local communities. The time is now for the South County Catholic High School.

Families, including non-Catholics, choose Catholic education for a variety of reasons. Some families choose a Catholic high school for the emphasis on values that reach far beyond the classroom. Each of the six high schools in the Diocese of San Jose emphasize leadership through service, evident in the number of hours that students contribute annually to their local communities: volunteering at food pantries and soup kitchens for the homeless, mentoring at-risk students, visiting lonely seniors in healthcare facilities, and teaching developmentally disabled youth to ride horses and enjoy nature, just to name a few examples. The South County communities of Hollister, Gilroy, San Martin and Morgan Hill should also enjoy the benefit of these students’ meaningful contributions.

The South County Catholic High School will be a good neighbor and contribute greatly to the larger Morgan Hill and Gilroy communities. Catholic High Schools in the Diocese of San Jose enjoy an extraordinary amount of diversity in the ethnicity, national origin and income level of the student body. South County Catholic High School will continue this tradition, welcoming students from all backgrounds and walks of life. Before the capital campaign to build the school has even started, there is already an endowment to ensure that all qualified students can attend the state-of-the-art school. The South County Catholic High School will help keep kids in the community where they can make meaningful contributions.

This high school has been the dream of generations of local farming families. The proposed…

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Fight Continues Over Catholic School Project Near Morgan Hill

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The Catholic Diocese of San Jose wants to build a new high school on an open plot of land just outside Morgan Hill city limits, but several times the plan has been shut down by a state-mandated agency intended to prevent urban sprawl.

Despite the roadblocks, the diocese may now have a prayer in the fight that has been flaring for years.

It has been 14 years since the idea of a Catholic high school in the Morgan Hill area was first floated. Since that time, the diocese purchased a plot of land off of Highway 101 and Tennant Avenue.

The diocese owns the land but cannot develop it until it has city services such as water and power. In order for that to happen, the city has to annex the land. In other words, the city has to bring it into city limits.

Approval for annexation can only come from Santa Clara County’s Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). The state-mandated agency, which is intended to protect open space and agricultural land, prevent urban sprawl, and promote efficient service delivery, has said no to several prior development plans.

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South County Catholic HS plans hinge on LAFCO’s decision

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While a city annexation plan is moving forward once again, the brainstorming behind a South County Catholic high school is already well under way and has been for a number of years.

The Diocese of San Jose said  fundraising, a construction timetable and overall project costs have been put on hold until the Local Agency Formation Commission rules on the City of Morgan Hill’s annexation request, by mid-December at the earliest.

Proponents of a new Catholic high school southeast of Morgan Hill are keeping their fingers crossed that the county body will change course from previous denials and allow them to build the private school.

“We did some preliminary fundraising before 2016 but decided to postpone our campaign until it is passed through LAFCO,” said Rev. Steve Kim of St. Lucy Parish in Campbell. Kim has been designated as the spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of San Jose and those trying to turn a concept into a reality for South County families.

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