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Editorial: Now is the time to speak out about Grape Bowl graduations

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Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 4:54 pm

If you wish to speak out on whether Lodi and Tokay high school graduations should be returned to the Grape Bowl, Tuesday night is your chance.

The Lodi Unified School District switched the ceremonies to the University of the Pacific in Stockton while the Lodi Grape Bowl was being renovated. The district continued with graduations at UOP this year, even though the renovations were complete, saying UOP is less expensive, has better seating capacity and is not subject to the vagaries of weather.

Traditionalists, though, were incensed. They believe the legacy of hometown graduations in an historic stadium should be honored and continued.

They are also puzzled. As money was raised for renovations, there was a promise that those changes would enable the graduations to continue at the Grape Bowl.

We hope the confusion can be cleared up Tuesday night — and that city representatives will be at the meeting to shed light on these questions along with Lodi school district staff.

Many in the community felt blindsided by the UOP decision, which was made by Lodi and Tokay administrators and without a full round of public discourse.

The district is right to back up and invite feedback, as this is an issue that many Lodians care deeply about.

In an informal online poll regarding Grape Bowl graduations at lodinews.com, the results tilted heavily in favor of tradition: 299 readers wanted the graduations to continue at the Grape Bowl, 29 at the Spanos Center at UOP, and 32 voted for a joint city-district meeting to clear the air and let the public be heard. That’s the largest response to an online poll in recent months.

Whatever the outcome of Tuesday night’s discussion, the public now has a chance to speak out.

That’s constructive.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the James Areida Education Support Center, 1305 E. Vine St.

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