[Source: Angela Gonzales, Phoenix Business Journal] — The Phoenix Elementary School District voted unanimously Thursday to partner with a charter institution to open a K-8 school on the district’s Phoenix Preparatory Academy campus downtown. The new school, on Seventh Street north of Van Buren Street, will start hiring 97 employees next week.
The Phoenix Elementary board had voted April 27 to close the academy at the end of this school year because it was losing half a million dollars a year. Now, the academy, which housed seventh- and eighth-grade students, will reopen this fall as Phoenix University School. This partnership allows University Public Schools Inc.’s charter school to operate on the campus without paying rent, but will give 10 percent of its revenue back to the school district every year. Instead of losing half a million every year, Myriam Roa, CEO of the Phoenix Elementary School District, expects it to make about $400,000.
So far, 500 students have signed up to attend the new school, said Larry Pieratt, executive director of University Public Schools. His goal is to attract a total of 850 students to the tuition-free charter school, which has an affiliation agreement with Arizona State University. The charter school — established as a vision of ASU President Michael Crow’s new American university — had been temporarily funded by ASU since 2007. As of July 1, it will be self-sustaining, Pieratt said. Pieratt said he plans to hire 97 people. “We will start interviewing on Tuesday,” he said.
Roa said she expects students to flock to the new school because of its ASU affiliation, and because of its downtown location. “This will give a new choice for downtown working parents, and also parents who live in the district,” she said. Pieratt said he expects this partnership to serve as a model for urban schools across the country as public and charter schools, as well as universities, unite. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]