Oops: Schools Need To Expand

Money from the sale of Frontier will barely cover cost of all-day kindergarten classrooms at PES

Payson Elementary School solar panels and garden.

Payson Elementary School solar panels and garden. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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The Payson Unified School District is reinstituting all-day kindergarten next year, but may not have room for all the classes.

District officials say they can probably get through next year with some creative shuffling at Payson Elementary School, but still need a long-term solution.

Down to two elementary schools since the closure and sale of Frontier Elementary School, the district has only a few ways to expand.

Recently, a four-person committee considered a plan to add classrooms to PES using $1.2 million from the sale of Frontier to a Christian school.

District Maintenance Director Todd Poer told the school board Thursday the best option was adding four classrooms, each with a bathroom, to the back of the school where a garden area is now.

The addition would blend with the rest of the school, down to the same carpet and windows.

Poer said the committee, which also consisted of Donna Haught, PES principal; Joni de Szendeffy, district director of technology and a parent, believe the district might have just enough to build the additional classrooms.

Poer said $1.2 million was not enough to add a multi-purpose room.

Board member Rory Huff pointed out that the logical place for the additional classrooms was where crews had added solar panels several years ago.

Board president Barbara Underwood said she would like to see a master plan for the school to avoid hiccups like this in the future.

She said the board has never discussed what would happen if the district starts to grow. Would it add a new school or expand onto PES and FES, she asked?

And if they did add onto the existing schools, would the campus look piecemealed together like the high school? she asked.

“I don’t want to see a Band-Aid like we saw at the high school for so many years,” she said.

Poer said no master plan exists for any of the schools.

Board member Shirley Dye agreed the district needed to take a closer look at future construction.

Huff said the solar panels installed at PES also block expanding that school.

The board asked whether an architect could come up with several addition options at PES.

Poer said that would be cost prohibitive.

With several unanswered questions, the board decided to table the issue to an upcoming meeting.

Comments

roy sandoval 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Surely, this cannot be true. The Board sold Frontier elementary school (complete with multi-purpose room and field) for $1.25 million in April and they are now talking about spending it on adding four classrooms to PES? I will reiterate, altogether with new parking lots, building modifications, paving and fields there is 7 million to 9 million dollars wrapped up in Frontier. This includes money from two different capital bonds and state funding sources for pedestrian traffic etc Frontier once held well over 300 students. Now, four new classrooms disjointed from the main building of PES? How about the consultant dollars spent to the architect firms looking into the modifications. This can't be true, can it? Not good.

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Kelly Watts 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Now that is just plain lack of forethought on the part of the school board and school officials. OK, so further down the road when we have a population increase because of the projected build out what happens?

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Pat Randall 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Where are all the children of the college teachers going to attend school? (:

Who is going to do all the fire inspection requirements for these four new rooms and the college now that it is a done deal?

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mike szabo 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Good one Pat! I guess they will have to subcontract the Fire Marshall's job. Hmm I'm thinking it will be alot more then his annual salary.

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H. Wm. Rhea III 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I posted on this vey website, as did many other good people in Payson, that selling FES was short sighted. Now that we were proven right and the area will grow, what's the School Board solution going to be? Are they going to ask for a bond to buy land and build a new school? Will they find legal grounds to void the sale and keep FES which is sorely needed?
My guess is they'll go the way of the bond - and I will vote 'NO!'

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Deb Dugger 9 months, 4 weeks ago

The money would be better spent..adding a kindergarten program to the new college..making it a a opportunity.for speech and social working.programs for low economic families...to 'jump start' the kids'..Having kids on a college campus...is a plus for nursing programs...and pediatric..studies..Teachers at the school...would prefer it to be combined with a preschool..program. attracting...teaching families..to this area..I believe there used to be an emphasis..on that kind of forward thinking.

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robbin flowers 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Was there an appraisal done? I was told there would be one done, by the state attorneys office. So I backed off. If so, the appraiser is incompetent and that is grounds for legal action. If there was an appraisal, whose buddy was it?

Unless it is a Saint on official business or otherwise, or a maintenance worker, no GOD fearing adult will step foot on that property until it is being used for what it is intended.

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Pat Randall 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Is there anyone posting on here that would be willing to be on the school board if there was a recall election? I can't because of medical reasons. And I don't play well with groups. (:

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Barbara Rasmussen 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Another big mistake made by governing bodies in Payson. First the Town Council and Mayor and now the School Board! What on earth were they thinking? Actually I withdraw that question. It is plain evident they were not thinking. If this building of new classrooms goes to a Bond Issue Vote is there anyone who would even consider voting yes? They should have kept the Frontier School.

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suzy tubbs 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This is tragic! The future of Payson is our children. Someone needs to be accountable for this. I do not understand why PUSD Staff and Board did not see this coming? Do they not know any basic business? Have they not thought of the future of this town and it's children. Who will be responsible for this? I think we need answers at once and not let this slide. The selling of the FES was not thought out and therefore someone needs to explain how the Board and Staff plan to facilitate their lack of business judgment. It feels like it has been a down hill spiral for sometime and this is just the straw that broke the camels back! How will we get answers?

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Pat Randall 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I think the sale could be stopped. There are ways to do it if the board has the brains and guts to do it.

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H. Wm. Rhea III 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I'd like to see the Roundup do something more in-depth on this story, say along the lines of the comments on this and the other FES sale stories. I'd be willing to bet that a great majority of the people in Payson feel the same way we do - especially if they're going to be paying more in taxes for a new school when the School Board just sold FES after telling us that enrollment would be down for the next five years or so.

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Bruce Heffner 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Someone needs to find out if there are criminal actions behind the sale of Frontier, Sounds like a set up to me for someone who thnks the taxpayers are going to take a big hit to fund another new school. I do like the idea of sending the kids to the college campus. I am sure the "Alliance" would approve. By the way, has anyone noticed the recent activity with EXPENSIVE out of town aircraft arriving at the airport lately? Could these be some of the mysterious members of the "Alliance"?

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Pat Randall 9 months, 1 week ago

Did you read the school board now has to find an architect to do the plans for the addition of the 4 rooms on Payson elem. So how do they know how much it is going to cost to build it? We are not being told everything. Once again it is my opinion that we have idiots in place to do all these stupid things they have voted on. The town council and school board should all be recalled at once! The taxes are going to be so high if their grand plans are done, Payson will be a ghost town. Maybe that is the plan. Payson the Ghost Town of Ariz. home of the oldest rodeo. Who needs a fire chief and fire marshal if there are no people to protect?

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Pat Randall 9 months, 1 week ago

Did you read the school board now has to find an architect to do the plans for the addition of the 4 rooms on Payson elem. So how do they know how much it is going to cost to build it? We are not being told everything. Once again it is my opinion that we have idiots in place to do all these stupid things they have voted on. The town council and school board should all be recalled at once! The taxes are going to be so high if their grand plans are done, Payson will be a ghost town. No one will be able to afford to live here. Maybe that is the plan. Payson the Ghost Town of Ariz. home of the oldest rodeo. Who needs a fire chief and fire marshal if there are no people to protect? Who owns the company that is putting in all the solar panels on the schools? So many questions and so few honest answers. Where is a good investigative reporter when you need one?

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