Prescott Valley Tribune News Article, April 5th, 2017.
“When Prescott Valley School’s administration team started evaluating data and doing strategic planning for the coming years, it was noticed that high school enrollment was declining and the elementary population was growing exponentially, said Chief Operations Officer Monika Fuller.
“We’ve doubled in size in the last couple of years for our elementary population and our high school’s gone to about half of what it used to be,” Fuller said. “And so with all of the changes coming from the state and just focusing on what we do really well, since we have so many coming in at K-8, we decided it would just be better to become a K-8.”
The other part of it is that the school doesn’t have the funds to expand at this time, a move the school has planned for in the coming years, Fuller said. In order to line up that expansion to build that brand new school, Prescott Valley School needs to continue to grow its enrollment so investors will want to provide the funds so the school can stay open, she said. Further, K-8 is the school’s niche and it would better serve the community to continue on those grade levels for now, Fuller said.
Currently the administration is in the process of working with bond investors from out of state that have invested in other charter schools within the state, she said.
“We’re working with them to determine what we need to have in place and what enrollment numbers we need to meet in order for them to give us funding to build a new school,” Fullers aid. “We have a couple things coming up in August that we need to hit and provided those things happen and those things fall into place, we’re in line for getting that funding and then we’ll purchase land and get started on our permit polling with the town and go from there.”
The magic number is 800 students, Fuller said, noting that anything under that makes it hard to make ends meet. To be able to max out what the school can offer families and students mean there needs to be about 800 students as there’s never a lack of need, she said.
There is quite a lot of excitement in the kids eyes when they see the poster in the office showing what the building will look like, even though no one really knows where the building is going to end up, Fuller said.
“They’re really excited … it gives them ownership of something new and it’s exciting for them to be a part of it,” Fuller said. “It makes it fun for me.”
Plans for the new building include a separate facility for the cafeteria so it’s not right next to classrooms where the noise can be a distraction students, fields to play in, ample parking for the parents, multi-use classrooms where there can be a computer lab space, a sound proof are a for music classrooms, an art room, library rooms and additional rooms for special education classes, Fuller said.
The hope is to open the new building in the fall of 2018 and have school in August of that year, she said.
“I don’t know if that’s going to happen, but that is the goal,” she said, stating that if 2018 doesn’t happen, then 2019 definitely will. “It’s going to happen. I’m determined. I’m going to find a way.”