Repurposing Update (August 25, 2022)
Over the last year, we have shared updates with you regarding the consideration to repurpose Desert Palms, Pioneer and Sky View elementary schools. After reviewing data and discussing all available options, we have decided to suspend our current process for closing or repurposing schools.
We recognize that the repurposing process has been a long, and often uncertain experience. Throughout the process, we involved many parents, community leaders, district staff and our Governing Board to make the best possible decision for the future of your school community. At this time, our primary focus will be on the academic success of students and recovery from the interrupted learning during the pandemic.
While we will not pursue closing or repurposing your school, the time and work that was completed in the past year will support our work moving forward. We will be doing a critical review of our current programs at schools across the district to determine if we can better utilize our available space. This will take some time, but we are hopeful it will allow for future expansion of academic offerings for our students.
In the meantime, we want to thank you for your patience as we explored changes to your school. If there are any future updates on program offerings at your school, we will be sure to share those with you.
- The Peoria Unified School District began the process of exploring schools to repurpose nearly two years ago after facility utilization assessments were performed. The process was briefly interrupted due to COVID-19 but reconvened with a committee in 2021.
- The district is not considering school closures or repurposing without careful consideration of input from the community and research on impact to the surrounding areas.
- Commitment to keep school staff, parents and the community updated on a quarterly basis and as major milestones approach.
- Following a five-phase approach as detailed below…
- The Governing Board called for a team to evaluate study findings and district enrollment, financial, and operational data to identify district school(s) that may have an opportunity for repurposing.
- Through this process, Desert Palms and Pioneer elementary schools were identified in Glendale and Sky View Elementary School was identified in Peoria.
- It is important to note that the committee was limited in its recommendations and only identified the school sites with potential for repurposing. The committee did not determine future plans for the sites that were selected.
- A School Repurposing Team has been formed to make recommendations regarding the future of the three identified sites. The team will review data and presentations to narrow a long list of options to what future purpose might best serve the district and community.
- The team will meet in March 2022 and their work will run through the end of the school year
- If the team reaches consensus, their recommendation will be presented to the superintendent who will bring it forward to the Governing Board for consideration of next steps.
- Only if the Governing Board votes to approve a closure process will the district advance to Phase 4. At this stage, they could determine that the schools should continue operating in their current state or could direct administration to proceed in another direction.
- The district will begin to follow a detailed, prescribed timeline found in ARS 15-341 which includes extensive community input into the process to determine next steps for the sites.
- Through this process, the district will advertise and host public forums and gather feedback from those most affected by the potential changes.
- The input received will be presented to the Governing Board for final consideration and action for the next steps.
- Planning and implementation of the action taken
- Planning of attendance boundary changes would be determined through the formation of the Peoria Unified Boundary Committee.
- Action would initiate
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we doing this work?
We are focused on fiscal responsibility and want to be mindful of the impact of operating school sites at lower capacity. We also want to be able to provide the most robust educational options to all students in our district.
What does repurposing mean?
Repurposing means closing a school and using the facility for another purpose or program. The school property could also be sold, or the land traded with a developer.
What is the timeline?
Phase one was completed in Fall of 2021, phase two is currently ongoing during spring of 2022, phase three would start during the summer of 2022. Phases four and five would be determined by the Governing Board.
What work has been done to date?
The district has completed Phase 1 where the data was collected and analyzed. This resulted in the three schools being recommended to the Governing Board as potential candidates for being repurposed. We are currently in phase two which has the purpose of determining the best options for how to repurpose the three schools.
What will happen with the students that attend the three schools?
The district will follow steps and procedures for changing attendance boundaries and will make sure those students have another stellar Peoria Unified school to attend.
What will happen with existing staff that work at the three schools?
All staff will be placed at other schools.
Why were these three schools chosen?
Desert Palms, Pioneer and Sky View elementary schools were chosen as potential candidates for repurposing based on several data sets, such as: demographic and enrollment information, enrollment distribution, staffing comparisons, staffing costs (per student), facility assessment costs (per student), utility costs (per student), specialized programs, location, and historical significance.
If there was a bond initiative on the ballot this fall, how would that impact the team's work?
The district does have a separate Citizens’ Advisory Committee meeting to determine if the district should have a bond on the ballot this November. The work of that committee and the team focused on repurposing is independent, however there may be implications of the work of the two groups.