Evergreen Elementary School

The fate of Evergreen Elementary School is in question because of declining enrollment.

CASA GRANDE — With a potential for a significant budget shortfall for the 2021-22 school year, the Casa Grande Elementary School District board will meet Tuesday evening to discuss possibly repurposing Evergreen Elementary School as an online center.

According to the agenda, due to 85% of the district’s budget being salary and benefits for employees, leadership teams were asked to think big and bold.

The staff will present information about a proposal to repurpose Evergreen Elementary School as a CGESD Center for Online and Innovative Learning.

According to a PowerPoint that will be presented during the meeting, Evergreen Elementary was selected due to declining enrollment.

Superintendent JoEtta Gonzales sent staff and families a letter in January notifying them that school may be repurposed in the future.

“The past year has provided ample opportunities for tough decisions. I never take them lightly, and I am proud of how our District family stands together in the face of challenge and adversity,” Gonzales said in the letter to the community.

According to the PowerPoint, the repurposing of the school would not result in a reduction in force and all staff will be given the opportunity to transfer through a voluntary transfer process.

During the meeting, the board will also discuss the possibility of renaming a school or district facility after longtime board President and member David Snider, who died recently.

The names of the district’s schools and other facilities should inspire and challenge our community to pursue the highest standards of human ideals, citizenship, scholarship and community service,” says a report with the agenda. “The naming of a facility has significant ramifications for current and future members of the school and district communities.”

According to the agenda, when naming a facility, the superintendent typically presents a recommendation to the board as an information item, and unless the board president deems it necessary to take action earlier, the board will not take final action on the recommendation any sooner than the following regularly scheduled board meeting following the recommendation. However, the board has the option to take action during the meeting.

“David Snider made an outstanding contribution to the education of children, to the district’s community and to the greater community,” the report says.

During the meeting, the board is expected to accept several donations. The board will also elect a new president for the year.

At 5 p.m. there will be a special meeting regarding the 2021-22 budget planning process. The regular meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the district office. Masks will be required for all those planning to attend.

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Gabrielle Olivera is the Casa Grande reporter at PinalCentral, covering government, schools, business and more.