Norton Hills Neighbors

Madison Simis Rebuild

Posted in: Northwood Estates I Block Watch

 

Dear neighbors, community and friends of Madison Simis school,

On May 19, 2015 the Madison School Board voted to approve plans to tear down the existing campus of the Madison Simis school (except for the new cafeteria) and re-build a new campus.  This project is scheduled to begin June 2015 and end approximately January 2017.  The re-build is projected to use 17 million from the 95 million dollar bond that was approved by the Madison District voters in November 2014.  

Community involvement and input into the Madison Simis Re-build (and the spending of the remaining bond money) is important. Working together will result in a better education, better facilities and a stronger community.  Madison District schools are considered Exceptional here in Phoenix and Madison Simis is one of the BEST!  A major construction project in a neighborhood is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our educational program.   However, this transformation must be an open, responsible public process or the school will be built to quickly without the involvement of the community that will live with and pay for the decisions.

So far the Simis rebuilding process has lacked transparency and has been rushed with little community input.  The district has held a few community meetings starting at the beginning of 2015, however, they did not give specific information on their plans for the new design.   Only suggestions were taken without taking into account that the community would need to see the plans to give their feedback.

Right now some of the drawbacks of the new build are considered to be: smaller classrooms, smaller teacher workspaces, inadequate storage for teaching materials, smaller playgrounds, inadaquate number of bathrooms, yet more parking spaces.  When the teachers were shown these plans, they immediately gave feedback about how these changes were going to impact their teaching.  However, their input had little effect on the final design.  The architects and construction company told the teachers that the changes they wanted could not be made with the budget.  
We have been told as a community that the plans are set in stone and even if there is fault in the design we are unable to make any changes.  This seems like a reckless way to approach a 17 million dollar project.
If changes need to be made or problems arise how is the school board going to handle it?  Sometimes problems with a new school build can come up two or three years after the project is complete.  What funding has been set aside if this happens?
This bond money was approved by the voters of the Madison School District and constructing a new campus that replaces the one that was built in 1953 should be done in a wise way.   
Moving forward we want to make sure the Madison District Board is going to do everything they can to ensure that a better school is built.   Even if it means moving additional funding to the Simis Re-build Budget from other district projects and slowing down the planning process.

***If you would like to share your opinions with the board, there is a final school board meeting to vote on the Simis rebuild construction contract at 5:30 PM this Tuesday night at the Madison District Office board room at 16th Street and Missouri.

If you are unable to attend the meeting please share your input with the school board:
President Sarah Speers: sspeer@madisoned.org
Sasha Glassman sglassman@madisoned.org
Scott Holcomb  sholcomb@madisoned.org
Mitra Khazai  mkhazai@madisoned.org
Marcus Osborn   mosborn@madisoned.org
Thank you for you consideration, 

A group of concerned parents at Madison Simis School
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