January 13, 2011

Maple Lane closure would jeopardize residents, Local 1926 member testifies

Local 1926 member Craig Larsen told a House committee Thursday that the ramped up closure of Maple Lane School would jeopardize many of the youthful offenders treated in the south Thurston County juvenile rehabilitation campus.

The governor’s plan to close Maple Lane would save only about $18 million, while there’s a plan to spend $15 million to $20 million to expand Green Hill School in Chehalis to take some of the Maple Lane residents.

But the two institutions are not interchangeable, he told the House Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee.

“You can’t house our kids at Green Hill,” Larsen said. “They would become victims there.”

Two state studies in 2006 and 2009 argued against closure of Maple Lane.

“I think if you go back and re-study those studies you can come to a reasonable conclusion it does not make sense to shut us down fiscally or for these kids,” Larsen said. “We still have two buildings out there that were not paid for yet.”

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