Question: What do we do with Fremont Elementary?


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago

Right answer:

Do the same thing which has been done with thousands of buildings across the nation during every slowdown in history.

  1. Winterize the building (drain the water pipes and anything else that might freeze, put antifreeze in commodes and commode tanks, and shut off the heating and cooling).

  2. Shut down the building for the time being (lock the doors and windows, mow the grass three times a year in the summer, and have someone make occasional walk-throughs).

  3. Treat it as an investment (let the building sit while it doubles, triples, or quadruples its original building costs, which it will, thereby saving the school district the whopping cost of replacing it during the period of growth which will inevitably follow this downturn, as has happened after every downturn since the nation was formed).

Wrong answers:

  1. Sell the building, making a few bucks in a buyer's market and setting Payson up for a whopping replacement cost.

  2. Lease the building, making even less than selling it would, and adding in the thousands of dollars in refurbishing costs needed to get it ready again when it comes time--instead of being able to walk in and start teaching.

Why do I say that?

Eighty years give a person a "been there, done that" viewpoint.

I've lived long enough to have seen today's buck-in-hand put ahead of tomorrow's basketful of greenbacks so many times I have to wonder if anyone has ever read Santayana's comment about those who do not learn from history having to repeat it.

The perfect example of planning ahead occurred so quietly most people didn't even know about it when it happened, but ask yourself this: How did we manage to ship almost half a million troops, and all their equipment--air, sea, and land--to the Middle East for operation Desert Storm in a few short months when it took two years to do it WWII?

Answer: Partly because we had a fleet in mothballs waiting to go into active service instead of having to build a new one.

I'm willing to bet it will cost less to mothball Fremont than it takes to heat it for one winter.

Also, ask yourself this question:

What does it actually mean when officials say they are not thinking of selling something? Things like this?

"On the contrary, until voters vote whether to allow the district to disentangle itself from the property, the district must continue to take responsibility, said the superintendent."

English translation from educationese: "We'll sell the place in a heartbeat the minute you give us a green light."

If ever there was a place that looks perfect for mothballing, it's Fremont. Ever seen it? No? Go look. It even looks like mothballs.


Pat Randall 4 years, 3 months ago

Won't they need the school when all these people move in for ASU as Evans keep saying will happen?
If all the kids that are being home taught, in private schools and charter schools we would have the school open now. But because they are not getting a good education in the Payson school district they are not attending our regular schools. Think about that.
Improve the teaching and education and the school will be full.


frederick franz 4 years, 3 months ago

We may in the future gain population of school age kids, and their parents. So hang on to the building for a while. As I understand it, the population of Payson is still shrinking. I just hope that we don't need to close another school soon.


Pat Randall 4 years, 3 months ago

Get whatever it takes to make the schools better and all the kids that are home taught etc. will be back in the system.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago

My biggest question was how I got so dumb that I managed to call Frontier "Fremont?" At first I thought I must really be losing it. Then I remembered how it happened. I made a typo as I was entering "Frontier." I typed "Frontoet," or something like that. The spell checker offered me "Fremont" and in a rush I just casually accepted it. Because the name only occurred in the title I missed what I had done, and the only thing that alerted me to the fact that I had made such a dumb-adze mistake was the fact that when I stuck the title into the news search box this morning it came up with nothing. "What?" I said to myself. "How can that be? We talked about that closing forever." Then I glanced at the pasted in search term and realized what had happened. Sorry!

"Won't they need the school when all these people move in for ASU as Evans keep saying will happen?"

Sure, they'll need it. It wouldn't have been built n the first place if Payson hadn't outgrown its other schools. Look at why it was closed. It wasn't because we didn't need it; it was because they cut our funding so badly we could not keep it open.

Here are comments from the January 11, 2011 article:

"The Payson Unified School District on Wednesday will likely get an earful from parents, teachers, students and taxpayers on plans to close an $800,000 deficit by mothballing Frontier Elementary School and increasing elementary school class sizes significantly."

“With the loss of over 100 students sunsetting of federal stimulus dollars and reductions in per pupil funding from the state, PUSD is looking at having to reduce our budget by a minimum of one million dollars,” the letter from Superintendent Casey O’Brien concluded."

"...the K-8 campuses would have far fewer children in each grade, which would result in an increase in mixed-grade classes."

See? Not one word about our not needing the school. Class sizes had to be increased. Mixed grades had to be created. And so on. Just search the news and you'll see for yourself.

It is inevitable that Payson will grow again. Otherwise, why do you think three large stores are about to open here? Because they like losing money?

The British have a good term for doing things like selling something that you will soon need again: "Penny wise and pound foolish!"


Barbara Rasmussen 4 years, 3 months ago

If they are having to pay to maintain the buildings year round, why could they not be used to house the homeless students? A type of shelter could be set up there and with a kitchen, dining area and bathrooms it would be an ideal place. Off course there would have to be some type of adult caretaker(s) to live there also and oversee the day to day operations. Just my thoughts for usage of a building that has set empty for too long.


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