Frontier Elementary School
Photo by Andy Towle.
After an hour of discussion in an executive session, the Payson Unified School District board rejected three offers from potential buyers for the mothballed Frontier Elementary and 501 S. McLane school sites.
Before the private executive session, Frontier Elementary School neighbor John Wakelin made a comment to the board about any offer the board might have on the table.
“My comment is that you carefully debate the offer,” he said. “As they say, half a loaf is better than no loaf — even if the offer is not what you are looking for — if land plus money is on the table, you could have an asset that appreciates in value.”
The board did not reveal the names of the potential buyers or the offers they made for the properties.
The board has much to decide in selling this property.
With declining enrollment and a shrinking budget, saving dollars anywhere makes sense.
At the same time, the Blue Ridge pipeline could make Payson one of the few towns in rural Arizona with enough water to support its future growth plans. If the town’s population does expand to more than 38,000 envisioned by the General Plan, the school enrollment could swell.
Residents fear the cost to replace it would total much more than the asking price of Frontier. The current sites have little room for expansion.
Back in the public session, the board moved quickly.
“After much discussion, I move we do not accept the offer for Frontier and stick to our asking price of $1.25 million,” said board member Jim Quinlan.
The unanimous vote confirmed his motion.
Shirley Dye made the motion to decline the two offers to buy and lease the 501 S. McLane property.
“I move to decline the offers and hold to our estimated value of $130,000,” said Dye.
The board has no obligation to tell the public the details of the offers.
Unless the board receives more offers, the buildings will remain vacant and the district will continue to pay for maintenance costs.