Regarding Frontier Elementary School (FES) — Originally I thought the sale of the school would be for a further educational use (a private school or Gila Community College expansion), which makes some sense; but to sell it just to get it off the asset roles needs some rethinking.
I understand the school board had some problems with Roy Sandoval, but in his recent Roundup blog he makes a lot of sense and, given his expertise, we should probably give some consideration to his comments.
Yes, we are in a recession and yes, the student population is down, but even with the incompetence regarding the recession coming out of DC, at some point the downward economic pressures caused by an extended recession will lessen and that in combination with the attraction of Payson will create the need for additional elementary classrooms.
Having spent a lot of years in the political world, I understand the attraction of quick-fix cash to get through a difficult moment, but as the old proverb says, “we can be penny wise and pound foolish” and that is exactly the point Roy Sandoval is making. We need to pay attention to the facts that he presents:
1) FES has about $5.5 million in construction cost ... the original build in 1996 plus the renovation done a year before it closed (one might even ask, “did we not know it would be excess when we renovated it?”) and that does not include the field and the well. It served about 400 students.
2) The recent redo of Julia Randall Elementary was about $20 million to serve 500 students.
3) A future school will probably cost upwards of $25 million.
Six or seven years from now, when the school board starts the campaign to do a bond issue to handle the increase and uses the old tried and true arguments that you “can’t let the kids down” or the old reliable “we will need to cut sports without it,” we need to think back to this time and ask “were we penny wise and pound foolish”?
Floyd Robert “Bob” Edwards