Scottsdale school board to discuss options - East Valley Tribune: News

Scottsdale school board to discuss options

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Posted: Sunday, May 4, 2008 6:40 pm | Updated: 10:13 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

What started as four options to consolidate schools in Scottsdale has expanded to 53 workable plans. And every one of them will be up for discussion Tuesday during a Scottsdale Unified School District governing board meeting.

GRAPHIC: See the school facilities under discussion

What started as four options to consolidate schools in Scottsdale has expanded to 53 workable plans. And every one of them will be up for discussion Tuesday during a Scottsdale Unified School District governing board meeting.

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The meeting also is intended to outline the process to replace Superintendent John Baracy, who has announced he's retiring effective Oct. 3.

Click on the graphic to view the school facilities under discussion

The Scottsdale school district's facility discussions started with four options developed by Baracy's Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee, including two controversial proposals to close Pima Elementary School and to consolidate Aztec and Zuni elementary schools.

After the board initially discussed those plans March 4, raising questions about the viability of both consolidation plans, the district asked the community for input.

Since then, the district has received 831 e-mails with 1,083 suggestions that include facility options, suggestions to raise revenue or trim the budget and pleas not to close certain schools, Baracy said.

District staff has determined that 53 options are workable. The staff has also classified about two dozen other options that "might work" or "wouldn't work," Baracy said.

Board members stressed that everything is on the table.

"It will be anyone's guess come Tuesday what actually shakes out," said board member Jennifer Petersen.

Before the board starts discussing the options themselves, board president Karen Beckvar said the most important decision will be how the options will be evaluated.

"It's kind of like setting up a rubric," she said. "Before you can grade the options, you have to know how they're grading."

Board member Eric Meyer said he hoped the board would emerge from Tuesday's meeting with about five options it was seriously considering in order to "stop the rumor mill."

"There's nothing good about any of this," Meyer said. "And unfortunately, we have low levels of spending on education. And when that's the case, we have to make these decisions."

Pima and Aztec parents said they were cautiously optimistic the board would decide closing their schools wasn't the best option.

Aztec parent Erin Strickstein said she's taking the sheer volume of options the board now has as a positive sign. The Aztec community hasn't been convinced that closing any school will be the best option in the long term, she said.

"We believe the economy will turn around and that Scottsdale will remain vibrant," Strickstein said.

Pima parent organization president Barbara Perleberg said her group is hopeful a proposal it put forward to turn all elementary schools in the Coronado complex into kindergarten through eighth-grade schools will gain traction.

"It's not just a ploy to save a school, we think it's a real, viable option for the district that has a lot of parent support," Perleberg said. "We're crossing our fingers and waiting for Tuesday."

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