June 9, 2004
In a room packed with more than 200 divided parents, the Scottsdale Unified School District governing board voted 4-1 late Tuesday to place a $217 million bond package on the Nov. 2 ballot.
At least 40 parents from the far north came in bright red shirts, opposing the bond issue, while more than 100 parents and students from the Arcadia High School area cheered their approval and booed the idea of closing a current school.
The vote followed more than an hour of community input from southern parents asking for better facilities and northern parents begging the board not to continue to send their children down Loop 101 to distant south schools.
"We have a waterfall in our auditorium," said Arcadia High mother Stephanie Coppins. "There is mold growing. Our children are sick. We need to do something immediately."
Northern parents said they understood — but needed to know their own safety issues would not be swept under the rug with the approval of the bond issue that would rebuild Saguaro High with additional seats that would be filled by their children.
Currently, about 400 high school students are bused from the far north past Desert Mountain High School to Chaparral and Saguaro high schools about 10 miles south of their homes in the McDowell Mountain Ranch area.
"We need five high schools located in the communities they would actually serve," said Brad Fuqua.
The bond proceeds would spend $42.1 million rebuilding most of Arcadia, $45.2 million rebuilding most of Coronado High School, $47.2 million renovating and rebuilding Chaparral, $45 million renovating and rebuilding Saguaro, $3 million improving Desert Mountain High School, $4 million completing construction on Sierra Vista Academy, $6.2 million purchasing 70 new school buses, and about $24 million in contingencies and for purchasing land to expand schools during reconstruction.
Four board members said they would address the northern concerns but that reconstruction of the older southern schools was long overdue, while providing equal programs at every school. Board member Christine Schild, who lives in McDowell Mountain Ranch, opposed the bond issue, saying it did not address equity for all students because many northern students can’t stay after school because of the distance.
The board also voted 5-0 to ask incoming Superintendent John Baracy to consider boundary changes and make a recommendation to the board in October.