Despite opinions from some residents (see below) that Deer Valley Unified School District needs another high school in the growing I-17 corridor from Happy Valley to Dove Valley Road, district officials say there’s no need yet.
The district will first look at boundary changes, said DVUSD Superintendent Curtis Finch, and any new high school would be based on future growth patterns within the northern portion of the district. DVUSD already has a 60-acre site at I-17 and Jomax Road reserved with the State Land Department, should the need arise.
“Our demographer’s report doesn’t indicate that we need another comprehensive high school at this point,” Finch said. “With some boundary adjustments, we should be able to delay the need for another five years,” adding that the district will continue to monitor growth and consider an updated demographer’s report due in late February.
While enrollment projections at the high school level in the April 2018 demographer’s report shows Boulder Creek, Sandra Day O’Connor and Mountain Ridge at 90 percent capacity or above for at least the next five years, Barry Goldwater and Deer Valley both remain well under capacity in that timeframe. Projections show total enrollment numbers district-wide at less than 90 percent of capacity for the next five years and beyond.
The board was planning to begin looking at data and information regarding district boundaries at the end of January, new DVUSD Board member Julie Read said on a community Facebook page.
“I know this is a big concern for our community and parents in our district,” Read said. “We really have a good board that wants to find solutions to these hot-button issues in our community.”
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Our story earlier in January about a new elementary school coming to North Phoenix spurred several questions and comments about the possible need for a new high school in the growing corridor, instead. Here’s a sampling of the comments from the North Phoenix News Facebook page:
“We need a new high school. When is the district going to realize that most people living in the Norterra and Sonoran Foothills neighborhoods are not going to send their kids to Barry Goldwater.”
“The reason enrollment is not at capacity [at Barry Goldwater] is because students are open enrolling elsewhere.”
—Sarah Harvey Ortaldo
“We are zoned for BG [Barry Goldwater]—parents don’t want to send their kids there. The Norterra area needs its own high school—plain and simple.”
“Barry Goldwater is NOT a bad school. Yes, it’s a Title 1 school*, but that means they get more funding. All the schools have drug issues and bullying issues, but instead of building another high school to accommodate more problems, we need to focus on helping the schools and the district take care of the problems they are having.”
*Schools that have 40 percent or more of their students receiving free or reduced lunch receive federal Title I funding for supplemental academic programs, staff and supplies.