Tempe school district considering sale, lease of properties to fill gaps in budget

Posted at 6:28 AM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 11:19:53-04

At a time when schools are strapped for cash, the Tempe Union High School District has a unique opportunity to help fill gaps in the budget. The district has two pieces of property, once prime spots to build a school, available to flip for cash.

In November voters approved the option to sell, lease or trade a swath of land in Chandler on Kyrene Blvd., between Chandler Blvd. and the Loop 202. The likely options will be to sell the entire piece of land, parcel it out for sale or develop and lease the property. A sale would generate a lump sum, a lease would mean a long-term, steady stream of income for the district.

Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Baca says the board has to consider the extra work that would go into becoming a landlord.

"We assume all of the responsibility of that facility, of air conditioning, maintaining the roof and it's something the board isn't taking lightly," Dr. Baca said.

Dr. Baca says there's no hard timeline for making a decision. The district is currently working with a promotional company to decide how to market the property. 

TUHSD also owns a giant parcel in Ahwatukee that is already on the market. The area is zoned for a new housing development and has become prime real estate now that the South Mountain Freeway project is moving forward.

The district hopes to start considering developer proposals in June before picking a buyer.

Money from both properties can only be used for Capitol improvement projects, things like updating current campus buildings or buying student textbooks. 

"We feel very blessed and very fortunate to have this option but it doesn't mean we don't have needs in other areas, but it does help us address certain needs that all public schools are facing," Dr. Baca said.