- Ben Cooper
CUSD80 Approves Big Spending
In their meeting on January 12, 2022, the board of the Chandler Unified School District approved Millions of Dollars in new spending, much of which is not directly related to education, may be unnecessary and wasteful.
The board unanimously approved more than $ 1 Million in new spending for new chiller units at different schools. Schoolboard members did not ask whether bids were competitive and if lower prices could have been had. Associate Superintendent for support services Frank Fletcher indicated that temporary units are currently in place. According to him the replacements would be installed only in the middle of summer, during the hottest time of the year. School board members did not ask if a cooler time of year would have been better for this work. Funds for this work come out of the 2019 CUSD80 bond.
With 4 yays and 1 abstention - Mr Jason Olive - the board then approved hiring an architectural firm to plan the addition of 8 competition tennis courts to Casteel High School. Mr Fletcher gave an estimate of between $3.7 and 4.1 Million for the project. 9.8 acres of land which the district previously purchased will be used for the new tennis courts. The cost for this land purchase was not discussed in the board meeting. Casteel High School already has 4 competition tennis courts.
Superintendent Frank Narducci justified the necessity for adding 8 courts with difficulties getting through a high school tennis tournament on 4 courts in one day. As he laid out, a tournament typically has 5 singles and 3 doubles games, 8 in total. The board did not further enquire about this. Tennis matches typically last between 1 and 3 hours. 8 games on 4 courts could hence actually get done in between 2 and 6 hours. The shortest day in Arizona is around December 21 each year, with sunlight from around 8 am to 5pm, 8 hours. The board also did not enquire whether a land sale was in order to generate funds and save taxpayers money. The funds for the construction of the tennis courts will come out of the 2019 CUSD80 bond, meaning out of property taxes of homeowners.
Casteel High School was opened in 2015 and named after then superintendent Camille Casteel. The governing board at that time changed its policy about naming schools after current staff because staff wanted to name the school after her. Casteel High School is located at the corner of E Riggs and Power Road in Queen Creek.
Comments to the CUSD80 governing board are due at noon on Tuesday before the bi-monthly board meeting on Wednesday and can be made here. Board meeting dates can be found here.