Board member backs Sierra Vista shift - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Board member backs Sierra Vista shift

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Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2008 8:36 pm | Updated: 8:36 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Moving Scottsdale's alternative high school into a larger high school is an option to consider as part of a plan to more efficiently use district buildings, according to one governing board member.

Since Sierra Vista is a small program, serving between 100 and 150 students a year, governing board member Molly Holzer said the students might be better served by a move to a comprehensive high school campus.

The current site could then be used for something else, like a traditional elementary school or rental facility for businesses, she said.

"If we could get a little bit of cash flow from our existing facilities, that's what we should be doing," Holzer said. "We've got some opportunity there, we just need to cut that overhead."

Sierra Vista opened in 2003 as an alternative school in the old Tonto School site, 7501 E. Oak Street, in Scottsdale.

The site was completely rebuilt through a combination of Arizona School Facilities Board funds received in 2002 and a bond issue voters passed in 2004.

Ideally, Sierra Vista students would remain in an alternative program separate from most students, but could still use resources available to the full high school, like guidance counselors, Holzer said.

"I don't really see the disadvantages. Everything would have more resources available," Holzer said.

"You can better utilize the staff you have at a big high school, even if you don't see them every day, he said.

But the idea has raised questions from some neighbors. Doug Houglund, who lives near the school, said Sierra Vista is a great program that has "straightened out" some he knows in the neighborhood.

And voters decided to rebuild that site in 2004, knowing it was an alternative school, so it should remain that way, he said.

"It was a bait-and-switch, because that school's not old," Houglund said. "I really think it would be a terrible thing to shut down the only alternative school in Scottsdale."

All facility-use options are being studied and will go to the full governing board for feedback in May.

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