By Jennifer Jimenez, Independent Newsmedia
Dysart Unified School District officials have proposed big changes, including potentially closing and redesigning one campus; opening another campus closed during the Great Recession; and redrawing school boundaries.
The new policy proposals were discussed during a DUSD Governing Board study session conducted Nov. 7 at the Nathaniel Dysart Education Center, 15802 N. Parkview Place.
Among the raft of new policies, school officials will consider closing Parkview Elementary at the end of the school year to redesign and reopen it as a traditional school in August of 2019.
Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis said the traditional school element is missing and the district he believes they are losing enrollment because they don’t offer that instructional learning opportunity for students.
The superintendent said district parents will be asked to work closely with school officials to design the new school, choose what is taught there and decide how it will operate.
“We are looking to form a parent guild to help develop the very initial characteristics of the school, present to the board and work with parents to develop more traditional characteristics such as whether or not there will be uniforms, what kind of curriculum they expect, disciplinary procedures and volunteer expectations,” Mr. Kellis said.
Officials may reopen a school in the Asante Community, located at 23251 N 166th Drive, Surprise 85387, which was formerly Desert Moon. The move is needed to respond to the growth anticipated in the area, according to Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Jim Dean.
“We are looking to hire a planning principal and some teachers to begin the process of opening a new school and I would work with them through all phases,” Mr. Dean said. “The advantage we have is the building is already in existence and has been preserved with all the furniture inside and we have all the materials we need to get that up and rolling.”
The Sundown Mountain Alternative Education Program, which currently uses the building, will be relocated to the proposed district facility near El Mirage Elementary School.
This school would serve preschool through 8th grade students starting in August 2019.
Mr. Hicks said the district has identified five proposed boundary changes.
The boundary committee will examine the areas for adjustments in the Asante, Kingswood Elementary, Parkview Elementar, and West Point Elementary areas.
Officials will also look at the boundaries of Luke Elementary, Mountain View School and Rancho Gabriela Elementary School to meet the needs of the community.
School officials stated in a press release they believe in providing opportunities for every student with a focus on their individual needs, saying the proposed reorganization aligns with those goals as Dysart continues to adapt to the changing community and believes in being transparent with the process.
Regular updates on the boundary process will be available at www.dysart.org.
A public forum will take place 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 at the district office before the regular Governing Board meeting at 6 p.m.
Open enrollment for the district begins Thursday, Dec. 13 and closes Friday, Jan. 25.
Mr. Kellis presented some key points he said he wants to see the district act on soon, while meeting all statutory requirements.
He said other top priorities should include preparing the district for projected growth, maximizing the use all its facilities, utilizing resources more efficiently and providing a traditional learning experiences for students.
“There are empty classrooms and we want to occupy them, not just with current students but new and we want students to feel like there is nothing they need to go elsewhere to get than here at Dysart,” Mr. Kellis explained. “Every district in the state is inadequately funded, so any resources we have we want to demonstrate to everyone who has supported us we have maximized the use of what we have. And when we look around several districts like ours, all have a traditional school and we are one of the larger districts in the state and are not fulfilling this need for students.”
More information on the proposed district-wide changes will be presented at the next Governing Board meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Dysart Education Center.
Editor’s note: See the Wednesday, Nov. 14 edition of Surprise Today for more information about the district’s proposals.