|Camp Verde school board opts not to buy building|
|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Thursday, 23 June 2011 00:00|
The Camp Verde Unified School District Governing Board wants to keep its options open when it comes to the future of South Verde Technology Magnet School, aka South Verde High School.
The school, which provides students with an alternative to traditional high school and relies heavily on technology, has made a home for itself on Main Street ever since it opened its doors a few years ago.
The only problem is the building isn’t owned by the school district. The district pays local property owner and former school board member Bob Simbric around $80,000 a year to lease the 6,800 square-foot building.
The board has been considering several options, including trying to purchase the building outright. The board decided to take a different route at its June 14 meeting, deciding instead to ask Simbric if he would consider leasing the building to the district for another four years.
Simbric wanted the district to commit to five years, if the board decided not to buy, Board President Tim Roth said. Roth met with Simbric earlier to discuss several options for the building’s future.
Several board members seemed to feel South Verde could eventually grow beyond its current building and an outright purchase might not be the best idea.
“I’d rather not purchase the building,” board member Helen Freeman said. “I just don’t know if that’s a wise investment.”
Freeman said the district might even consider eventually moving South Verde out to the 80 acres southeast of town the district bought a few years ago from the U.S. Forest Service.
“[Principal Steve King] does a great job out there, but I think it can grow into something even better,” Freeman said.
King said while he likes having the school in a central Main Street location, he wouldn’t mind seeing a solution that would ultimately save the district money.
“Even if we were to look at something that cost $30,000 less, we could use that money toward the improvement of the program,” King said. “That’s another teacher.”
Board member Judy Gilbert said it didn’t make sense to her to buy the building outright, given the uncertainty in the economy.
Board member Trent Hackett was opposed to seeking a four-year lease, also citing the uncertainty in the economy. Hackett said the school might well end up staying in the same place for the next five years and it would benefit the district if it owned the building and didn’t have to pay rent.
Roth also said he favored a lease-purchase type of agreement.
“It’s home for [the students],” Roth said. “They’re comfortable there; it’s a great place for them to be.”
The district board will put the issue on an agenda next month after Simbric responds to its request.