VOC parents get first glimpse of Big Park's future

Superintendent of cash-strapped district unveils five options to school board

VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK - After months of rumors and uncertainty, parents of children attending Big Park Community School had a first look at the future as Superintendent David Lykins unveiled five possible alternatives for the cash-strapped Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School District (SOCUSD) during his presentation at the Jan. 12 governing board meeting.

The district has lost 20 percent of its student enrollment in the past 10 years. SOCUSD is also facing a three-quarter of a million dollar shortage in funding this year.

Currently, the SOCUSD is composed of three schools: Sedona Red Rock High School/Red Rock Academy (grades 9-12), West Sedona School (grades K-8 with a Montessori K-1) and Big Park Community School (grades K-8, serving the Village of Oak Creek).

Lykins offered five models for restructuring in order to meet a target of $1.3 million reduction in budgetary obligations over the next three years. According to the document "Recap $$$" (available on the SOCUSD website), options include:

1. Closing Big Park Community School or West Sedona School (an estimated savings of $1,046,670).

2. Keeping the current model, but reducing programs and staff (an estimated savings of $1,029,150).

3. Reorganizing current campuses into grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12 (an estimated savings of $1,008,670).

4. Transitioning current campuses into grades K-5, K-8 and 9-12 (an estimated savings of $ 992,200).

5. Reorganizing current campuses into grades K-6, K-6 and K-12 (an estimated savings of $ $869,200).

Not included are additional savings associated with facilities, transportation and utilities.

A timetable for decision making by school administrators and the board includes joint work sessions to be held Jan. 26 and Feb. 23, as well as SOCUSD district governing board meetings to be held Feb. 2, March 1 and a special session March 22.

District governing board meetings are open to the public for comment and are held the first Tuesday of every month at 4 p.m. at Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School District #9, 221 Brewer Road, Sedona.

The phone number is 928-204-6800 and meeting documents can be viewed at www.sedona.k12.az.us/governing-board-postings.html.

Superintendent Lykins was contacted for comment but declined an interview.


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