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MARICOPA — The new high school budget and life cycle measures of the Maricopa Unified School District were discussed at the district's recent Capital Stakeholder Forum.

The meeting took place on June 20, bringing community members, school board members, City Council members, principals, parents and teachers to get together to discuss the plans while objective facilitators were present.

Those who attended the forum were able to ask any questions that they had regarding updates on the proposed new high school and other developments of the MUSD.

Superintendent Tracey Lopeman emphasized that transparency and collaboration were two priorities for the forum and being able to hear from every voice is a vital aspect in the capital planning process.

Lopeman opened the meeting with four goals that emerged from the strategic plan that officials have been working on for the past 10 months. They are: every student graduating; 100 percent access in equity; an organizational culture that prioritizes people over programs; and community pride through excellent customer service, safe and attractive facilities and sound business practices.

Mark Rafferty, facilitator of the capital planning committee, gave a thorough presentation on the potential financial scenarios for the new high school project and priority projects. Those were presented were based on the life cycle forecast that Rafferty and his team had come up with for the district. A life cycle forecast involves items such as carpeting, roofing, lighting and fire alarms. The team has measured all of the materials in the district and assessed them in terms of how many years of their cycle they have left.

“We should’ve started a year ago,” Rafferty said.

The life cycle analysis showed that for the first year, $8.7 million worth of replacement is needed for the district. He said that the district has only worked on preventative maintenance and nothing else has happened.

For the next four- to five-year forecast, the number dropped to $2 million per year.

He then presented budget scenarios of the future planning of the district. This involved the budget for the new high school and the priorities for life cycle measures.

He addressed the capacity issue at Maricopa High School, where a demographer did a study and concluded the projected enrollment growth to be 500 students per year over the course of the next 10 years. Currently the high school holds about 2,400 students, when the capacity is 1,800.

The district has placed 16 portable classrooms at MHS for the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.

The total budget for the new high school project and the priorities came to $72 million. The two other scenarios he presented were lowered to $63.5 million and $56 million, due to the removal of energy-saving projects and solar with battery storage.

There will be additional stakeholder forums and meetings to discuss the future planning.

“Our family is growing,” Lopeman sad. “We want to look at the long-term future of the city of Maricopa and how we can educate our kids here to do our part to make this a vibrant city.”

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