Phoenix-area residents move to stop expansion of nation’s top charter school

Feb 23, 2016, 5:40 AM | Updated: 8:16 pm
(BASIS Scottsdale Facebook Photo)...
(BASIS Scottsdale Facebook Photo)
(BASIS Scottsdale Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — Residents in Scottsdale, Arizona, have many accolades to cheer about: The city has been named one of the best nationwide to start a business, pursue an active lifestyle and give children an excellent education.

However, residents are working diligently to stop the expansion of BASIS Scottsdale, a local high school, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Since its inception in 2003, the charter school has garnered a wide variety of awards, including the most recent from U.S. News & World Report, marking it the second-best high school in the country.

These high-profile awards have drawn the attention of the recent influx of residents to the area, a majority of whom hail from California and want the opportunity to enroll their children in the school.

Currently, the Scottsdale campus is at full capacity, with 740 students, and lacks both a gym and playground. More than 1,200 students fill the wait list, waiting to be chosen by lottery in order to pursue a free, top-of-the-line education.

In January, school officials purchased a 9-acre plot of land that is a mile and a half from campus to build a 2-story complex with science labs and a full-size gym, according to the article. The existing campus would be transformed into an elementary school that could enroll 520 new students.

The proposed move has sparked public outrage, with many residents claiming the new school would cause traffic problems and endanger the safety of others.

Opponents have asked the Scottsdale City Council to refuse to let the school use the land for expansion purposes. The council approved the measure to build the new campus in a meeting on Tuesday.

According to BASIS Director of Charter School Development Jonathan Gelbart, opponents of the expansion have been filming traffic at the current Scottsdale campus, even using a drone to do so.

In a letter, the Parent Teacher Organization at Mountainside Middle School said the new school would be dangerous and could limit residents’ “access to their homes in case of a fire or emergency,” according to the article.

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Phoenix-area residents move to stop expansion of nation’s top charter school