Santa Rita High School/Facebook
Santa Rita High School, Tucson, Ariz.

Proposed bill would allow neighboring district to take over Tucson, Ariz., high school

Feb. 13, 2018
Lawmaker wants the Vail school system to take over the underutilized Santa Rita High School in Tucson.

A bill introduced in the Arizona legislature would enable the Vail school district to take over an under-capacity high school campus in the neighboring Tucson district.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that the proposed legislation would provide a way for the Vail district to assume control of Tucson Unified’s Santa Rita High School, which has only about 450 students on a campus designed to accommodate more than 2,000.

The bill, proposed by state Rep. Todd Clodfelter, would require the Arizona School Facilities Board to take over any campus that is at less than 25 percent of its capacity and offer the school to a neighboring district for 10 percent of its assessed value.

Tucson school board member Michael Hicks assailed the plan as a “backroom deal” and characterized it as “part of the systematic dismantling of Tucson Unified School District.

Clodfelter acknowledges the bill is aimed squarely at allowing Vail to take over Santa Rita.

He says that letting Vail take control of Santa Rita would ease a classroom shortage in that district. Vail is growing rapidly and all five of its high schools are above or near capacity. At the same time, Tucson has been experiencing enrollment declines that have left many of its campuses below capacity.

The bill would save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, Clodfelter asserts, if Vail could gain additional classrooms without constructing a new high school.

Vail Superintendent Calvin Baker says he is skeptical that the lawmakers would approve the proposal.

“There are so many political and legal hurdles on this that we’re not banking on it,” he says.

Baker expects that Vail will push ahead with plans to pursue a bond issue and build its own high school.

Sponsored Recommendations

Providing solutions that help creativity, collaboration, and communication.

Discover why we’re a one-stop shop for all things education. See how ODP Business Solutions can help empower your students, school, and district to succeed by supporting healthier...

Building Futures: Transforming K–12 Learning Environments for Tomorrow's Leaders

Discover how ODP Business Solutions® Workspace Interiors partnered with a pioneering school system, overcoming supply chain challenges to furnish 18 new K–12 campuses across 4...

How to design flexible learning spaces that teachers love and use

Unlock the potential of flexible learning spaces with expert guidance from school districts and educational furniture providers. Discover how to seamlessly integrate adaptive ...

Blurring the Lines in Education Design: K–12 to Higher Ed to Corporate America

Discover the seamless integration of educational and corporate design principles, shaping tomorrow's leaders from kindergarten to boardroom. Explore innovative classroom layouts...