SUSD Governing Board delays decision on next bond projects

Kiva Elementary School is at 6911 E. McDonald Drive in the Town of Paradise Valley. (submitted photo)

After a spirited debate, a split Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board decided to table a vote on naming Kiva and Pueblo elementary schools as the next bond projects.

The board voted 3-2 to wait with Board President Patty Beckman and board member Jann-Michael Greenburg dissenting. The vote came at the Tuesday, April 16 meeting at Coronado High School, 7501 E. Virginia Ave.

The original action item called for the board to decide whether to name Kiva, 6911 E. McDonald Drive in Paradise Valley, and Pueblo, 6320 N. 82nd St., as the next schools for remodel or rebuild.

An approval would have put the schools after Hohokam Elementary School, which will follow Cherokee Elementary School.

Superintendent Dr. John Kriekard estimated a vote, similar to what the Governing Board passed with Hohokam earlier in the evening, coming in about a year. Dr. Kriekard said this item was important because it could help avoid increasing construction prices and let communities know they are next in line.

“I’m trying to keep people moving and at the same time, understanding that we have needs throughout our district,” he said.

Barbara Perleberg

Board member Barbara Perleberg said she agrees attention needs to go to the schools. On the other hand, she said there is a lot of other factors, such as cross-enrollment and school programs, that make it difficult for the school district to give a firm promise to the communities.

Even though she wants the schools to undergo improvements, she said she didn’t think the board was ready for an action item at this moment because it needed to have a “healthy and responsible dialogue,” potentially early next school year.

“It’s facing a reality that we just can’t ignore anymore and I think as much as we would love to make decisions based on the emotions and the parents and families living there right now in that campus, we have to make decisions based on the next 20 years in a district that we need to make healthy and sustainable,” she said. “We just can’t afford to be shortsighted right now.”

Patty Beckman

Ms. Beckman said she didn’t understand what the district is waiting on, as she believes programs are in good shape and enrollment continues toward its goals. She believes waiting is detrimental to enrollment at these schools.

“It’s a competitive education environment out there and being a parent myself, if I had a curiosity if this school was going to be around, I’m not sure I would enroll my kids in it,” she said.

“So, all I’m asking tonight is that we don’t waste six months and we give these communities some thought that they are actually going to be rebuilt or remodeled, especially the schools that have grown their enrollment or it’s been consistent and the programming is in place.”

Ms. Beckman said she was worried about the public perception of the district not committing to schools that have increasing enrollment and set programming. Ms. Perleberg countered by saying there are too many unknown factors that prevent the board from having a discussion.

Mr. Greenburg said he sees merit in both Ms. Pereleberg’s and Ms. Beckman’s respective arguments. He didn’t see an issue with making two schools the next projects at this time.

Board member Sandy Kravitz said both schools are important but she’d rather “under promise and over deliver,” adding she wasn’t comfortable moving forward until she knew how the school projects would fit into the district’s plan.

Governing Board Vice President Allyson Beckham sided with Ms. Kravitz and Ms. Perleberg but said she didn’t want to wait six months for the district to start having discussions about the schools.

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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