Board Rejects Offer

School district calls special meeting to consider offers for shuttered Frontier

Frontier Elementary School

Photo by Andy Towle. |

Frontier Elementary School


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.


H. Wm. Rhea III 3 years, 10 months ago

"Shirley Dye made the motion to decline the two offers to buy and lease the 501 S. McLane property."

I thought FES was on the south east side of town, not on McClane??? Or is it a completely different property that the article is speaking of?


don evans 3 years, 10 months ago

So let me get this correctly. The Frontier Elem. School was funded and built with Tax Payer monies. Yet the publicly elected school board says they do not not have to tell taxpayers who, what or how much was being offered on the purchase of the facility? That does not pass the smell test in my opinion.


H. Wm. Rhea III 3 years, 10 months ago

Agree with Don. The public has a right to know who offered how much, especially since the school board has rejected those offers, unless it's still in negotiations with those groups.

I still would like to see the school board hold onto the school for five more years. That's long enough for all to see if we're getting a university or not, since that seems to be the linch pin for everything at the moment that's connected to the growth of Payson.


Robbin Flowers 3 years, 10 months ago

Wise decision. Finally, a small government action that wasn't corrupt. It is my understanding that there is upwards of 5.5 Million tax dollars in Frontier Elementary and it would take much more than that to rebuild at another location.


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