Parents upset about possibility of schools closing

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Old buildings and a small student body are two reasons four schools in the Paradise Valley School District could be closed.

Parents were sent an email telling them Desert Springs Preparatory Elementary, Foothills, Sandpiper and Village Vista could close after this school year in May.

“The faculty I know. The administration is still there from when I was in 6th grade so it’s a comfort for me too,” said Samantha Baumann who has child attending Desert Springs.

Baumann is against her son’s school closing.

According to the district the numbers just don't add up to keep the four schools open.

Three-hundred students attend each of the four schools facing closure, compared to 600 students at the majority of the district’s 32 elementary schools.

“It's not good to have a half-empty building. That's not a good learning environment for children. It's not a good social environment for children,” said district spokesperson Marty Macurak.

Macurak said the areas around the schools are older and students who once attended them have grown up.

She went on to say their parents aren’t necessarily selling their homes, so new students aren’t entering the school system, dragging attendance numbers down.

If doors are shut in May, this could affect attendance boundaries for students at 6 other schools, including Arrowhead, Desert Shadows, Indian Bend, Liberty, North Ranch and Whispering Wind.

“We're not talking about students moving from one school to another. But potentially a student who would have lived in the attendance area for school A might now be in the area for school B,” said Macurak.

Bauman is concerned about driving further to drop off and pick up her son.

“All of our elementary schools are really quite close together. So we don't think this would be a hardship in terms of distance,” said Macurak.

The school board members will make their decisions in December.


Paradise Valley Unified School District

Elementary school repurposings or closings and attendance boundary changes

Governing Board study sessions
Nov. 19, 6 p.m. 
Nov. 29, 6 p.m. 
Horizon High School Auditorium 
5601 E. Greenway Rd.  Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Community meetings with Dr. Lee and Cabinet 
Nov. 26, 6 p.m. 
Desert Shadows Middle School Multipurpose Room 
5858 E. Sweetwater Ave.  Scottsdale, AZ 85254 

Nov. 27, 6 p.m., 
Sunrise Middle School Multipurpose Room 
4960 E. Acoma Dr.  Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Governing Board vote 
Thursday, Dec. 20, 6 p.m. 
Desert Shadows Middle School 
Multipurpose Room 
5858 E. Sweetwater Dr.  Scottsdale, AZ 85254 
The board will vote on whether or not to close or repurpose one or more of the following schools: Desert Springs Preparatory Elementary, Foothills Elementary, Sandpiper Elementary and/or Village Vista Elementary. A decision could also affect attendance boundaries for the following schools: Arrowhead, Desert Shadows, Indian Bend, Liberty, North Ranch and Whispering Wind.  The Governing Board shall hear reasons for and against closing any school.