The race is on for students in far north Scottsdale.
A handful of proposed parochial schools could affect the Scottsdale Unified School District, which lost 540 students this year in transfers to private and charter schools or other districts.
Next year, the district is projected to lose an additional 100, said Bill Johnson, district director of planning.
The state funds schools based on how many students are enrolled. Because the district is not gaining new students, the School Facilities Board won’t build more schools in the growing northern region.
Schools such as that of the southern Baptist SonRise Community Church are moving forward with plans to fill needs in the area where children are routinely bused south for public school.
The church, near Dixileta Drive and Scottsdale Road, is one of three in a row that have plans for schools.
Senior pastor Jim Williams said he doesn’t expect to compete directly with the district, but seeks to fulfill a need for parochial schools.
"There is a waiting list for Scottsdale Christian Academy and Phoenix Christian," he said. "Our school would be open to any Christian student."
The plan is to build a 200-student kindergarten through eighth-grade school on the 10-acre campus.
Right next door, the 17.7-acre Desert Foothills Lutheran Church plans to eventually expand its preschool to a kindergarten through eighth-grade school depending on how concerns neighbors have raised about parking are resolved.
Those concerns arose after residents learned of a third church, the Desert Mission Methodist Church, which will be builton 18 acres on the other side of SonRise along Scottsdale Road.
The church plans to build a school complex serving up through the eighth grade.
"It definitely has an impact," Johnson said of the outgrowth of private schools. "But I don’t think it’s huge."