Controversy brewing over Scottsdale school

Posted: 6:06 PM, Jan 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-09 03:19:57Z

A controversy is brewing in Scottsdale, on one side, a charter school ranked as one of the best in the country and on the other, worried homeowners.

A dusty piece of desert near 128th Street and Shea Boulevard will soon be home to a new 5th-12th grade BASIS charter school.

Neighbors say they had no idea the school was even considered for the corner in the shadow of million dollar homes, and they aren’t exactly laying out the welcome mat.

“The signs that were put up by the City [of Scottsdale], were the first indication that something was going on," said Dan Peterson who lives a couple of blocks from the site.

Peterson says some were blind-sided by a public notice, more of an administrative procedure to alert resident of an impending abandonment of some government held land.

The notice was part of a much larger project.

The 10-acre parcel will eventually hold a school for 1,000 students and more than 100 staff.

“The fear is, the kids, safety, school busses that's my main concern right now,” explained Peterson.

Residents say it’s the wrong area for a school that size.

“The issue is they are trying to shoe-horn in a very large capacity school into probably the lowest cost property that they could find,” said resident Randy MacLean, who’s part of a group fighting the project.

Residents worry about emergency vehicles getting through clogged streets, packed with school traffic.

They also raise concerns about the lack of sidewalks and the unimproved roads in the area won’t handle the added vehicle traffic.

"We are working really hard with our engineers and with the city engineering staff to make sure we make all the improvements that are necessary,” said attorney Jordan Rose who is representing Basis Schools.

Rose says Basis Schools did tell the necessary residents about the plans and they are working with the letter of the law to address safety worries.

Basis schools says they start time for students will be staggered throughout the day to cut down on congestion.

Residents against the new charter school have hired three lawyers and their own traffic engineer to look into the project.

There are three public meetings scheduled regarding the project.

One meeting is set for January 13 at 5 p.m. and two on January 21 at 1 p.m. and 5p.m. at Scottsdale City Hall.

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