Our Voice: Thumbs up to state Superintendent of Public Instruction

The state Superintendent of Public Instruction's office is providing $10 million to $12 million to build a new Delta High School in Pasco.

Administrators in the Pasco, Kennewick and Richland school districts filed the request with the state, hoping to get the $15 million to $18 million project started.

If the school districts can come up with the difference, construction could start in January, Pasco School Superintendent Saundra Hill told the Herald.

The innovative science, technology, engineering and math school needs a permanent home. The lease on its current facility in Richland expires next year.

Land already has been purchased in west Pasco and the districts are working with Pasco city planners on construction permits for the school.

Delta's graduates its first senior class this year. Thanks to education leaders here and in Olympia, it looks as if there will be many more.

Parenthood can wait

Thumbs up to a growing trend among American teenagers to delay parenthood until they're better equipped for the challenge.

A recent report, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that teen birth rates fell at least 15 percent in all but two states from 2007 to 2011.

Rates in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah fell by 30 percent or more. Overall, the rate of births to teen mothers dropped by 25 percent from 41.5 per 1,000 teens ages of 15 to 19 in 2007 to a record low of 31.1 births per 1,000 teens in 2011.

The greatest drop was recorded among Hispanic teens -- 34 percent from 2007 to 2011. Teens from other groups saw steep declines too, with non-Hispanic black teenagers showing a at 24 percent decline in teen births and non-Hispanic white teenagers a 20 percent drop.

The study didn't attempt to identify reasons for the decline, but experts were quick to offer a range of possibilities.

Everything from better sex education in schools to the popularity of TV reality shows that chronicle the not-so-enviable lives of teenage mothers are likely factors.

But one rises above the others. Teens who have close relationships with their parents consistently make smarter choices about sexual activity.

Biz killer

Thumbs down to a proposal that would charge foreigners a fee to enter the United States by land.

The move would discourage some potential visitors from spending their money at American businesses. In some border communities, particularly along the Canadian border, businesses depend on foreign trade.

One gas station owner in Blaine, just south of the border, estimates that 90 percent of his customers are Canadians, who pay about $1.30 per gallon less than they would in Canada.

Blaine, a little town of 5,000, collects more than $225,000 from a penny per gallon gas tax because so many Canadian motorists fuel up there, The Associated Press reported. It's enough to cover about a third of the city's street maintenance budget.

In this fragile economic recovery, any policy that would discourage foreigners from frequenting American businesses should be scrapped.