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Statue slated for Higley High School causing controversy with $100,000 price tag

Posted at 8:40 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 08:47:15-04

GILBERT, AZ — How much is too much to spend on school spirit?

An East Valley booster club is at the center of a growing controversy because of a massive statue and its six-figure price tag.

The Higley High School campus has plenty of Knight pride on display but a new project would take that school spirit to new heights.

A 10-foot bronze statue, currently molded in clay by a sculptor in Utah, but ultimately placed in the school's courtyard. The project is slated to cost $100,000.

"I had no idea that the reaction would be strong," said Allison Day, who is the current president of Higley's booster club "The U-Knighted Kingdom."

Several people praising the project on Facebook with comments ranging from, "A great representation of school spirit!" to, "Think of how many families will be a part of such a historical knight that will be there for years to come."

However other posts are circulating online from parents and teachers who feel blindsided by sticker shock.

One mom, Heather Tilus, telling ABC15, "A grotesquely huge statue on our campus is unacceptable. Pat Tillman's is 6-foot tall and he died for our country."

Day says they are already about $50,000 into the project, all private donations raised specifically for this statue. No taxpayer dollars or student money involved.

There are also questions about why production is already underway when the full amount has not been raised and the Higley School Board still needs to vote to accept the statue. Day insists she did everything she knew was required.

"I would like to put the students first and to do something of inspiration, something memorable, something that gives the kids something to look to," said Day.

For now, production and fundraising are on hold until the school board votes April 15.

If the board turns down the statue, there is a chance the $50,000 donors already put in could be a total loss.