SURPRISE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Parents in a surprise community are at odds with their homeowners association after it voted to build a wall covering an elementary school entrance.
Renee Ryon, Director of Communication for the Dysart School District, said the Ranch El Mirage Community, located near Grand Avenue and Greenway Road, is filled with families whose children attend nearby Surprise Elementary school.
The kids who attend the school, between kindergarten and eighth grade, can normally get to and from school in less than 10 minutes, but after the Rancho El Mirage HOA voted to build a wall blocking off the back part of the campus it may take closer to 45 minutes.
“The reason why we moved into this community is because it was (so) close to the gate,” said Marth Lozan, who lives two houses away from the steel structure. “It was very convenient, and now they want to close it, I think it’s going to affect a lot of kids and families.”
HOA guidelines state it gives community members advance notice of meetings, but parents we spoke to said they didn’t feel the early October meeting was publicized, especially concerning a topic that impacts the safety of children.
”The concern with that is it add a half-mile to mile walk for kids and it takes them onto major thoroughfares like Dysart Road, Grand Avenue and Greenway,”said Ryon.
She admitted there have been complaints about student behavior, and parking in the cul-de-sac next to the gate, but school leaders have addressed them.
Parents and school officials said safety is their No. 1 priority, and hope to meet with the Rancho El Mirage HOA in the near future.
“We can sit down with them and discuss some alternatives,” said Ryon.