CITY OF SURPRISE
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION
Bell Road, Suite D-100
Surprise, Arizona 85374
November 21, 2006
Call to Order:
and Zoning Commission Workshop Meeting began at 6 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall, 12425 West Bell Road, Suite D100, Surprise, Arizona 85374, on Tuesday, November
Chairman Lyn Truitt, Vice Chair Jan
Blair, and Commissioners Skip Hall, Steve Somers, and Fred Watts were present.
Commissioners Richard Alton and Antonio Segarra were absent.
Chairman Lyn Truitt introduced Scott Thompson, Executive
Director, Business Services Dysart School District.
Mr. Thompson provided a brief history of Dysart School District:
1990s: Poverty and Weak Budget:
- One of 13 poorest districts in Arizona.
- Sued state to form School Facilities Board.
- Only 78% of eligible students attended school in the
- Forced to eliminate all sports and extracurricular
- Had five campuses; three were 50 plus years old and poorly
- Failed bond and override elections.
2000s: Growth and Evolution:
- Encroachment issue leads to protect Luke Air Force Base
- Arizona School Facilities Board commits $140 million to
build new district schools.
- Two Traditional migrant farming communities are now Arizona’s fastest growing cities.
- Bond passes $74 million to follow up on Capital Equity
- Since 1999, growth spurt 25% and more than 2,000 new
students each year.
Emphasizing that the Dysart School District is the fastest
growing school district in Arizona, Mr. Thompson noted the past and projected growth
of the school district:
- Increase of more than 3,500 students from 2004 to 2005; 2,800
students from 2005 to 2006.
- 20,900 students this year.
- 40,000 students in less than 10 years from today.
He mentioned that the following economic factors indicate
that growth will continue:
- Housing prices.
- Local commercial development.
- Housing availability.
Mr. Thompson pointed out that the school district personnel work
closely with city staff to keep track of developments. One of the critical
issues for the school district is infrastructure. He suggested that timing is
key to ensure everything is in place when a new school is needed.
Mr. Thompson next discussed how a district acquires school
sites, specifically talking about the Arizona School Facilities Board. This
board is funded by the state general fund allowing the schools to be built
equitably throughout the state. The district is required to submit information
annually which is used to determine the district’s eligibility for any new
Mr. Thompson showed a map that indicated where the planned
and proposed school sites were located. He talked about construction costs and
their impact on the district.
He mentioned that many students frequently have been moved
from school to school. Boundaries are changed to keep the schools equitably
balanced with the numbers of children. Many things are considered in the
decision to move boundaries: families, stability, programs, school capacity,
Mr. Thompson addressed several myths:
- Dysart schools are overcrowded.
- While some schools have more students than others,
boundary changes have avoided this issue.
- Dysart classrooms are overcrowded.
- Classroom student/teacher ratios are very competitive.
- Dysart schools are in bad locations.
- While some schools have better locations than others,
many of the current school sites were established before the district
started working with the cities.
- Developers must have schools to sell a house.
- Not true (see Royal Ranch, Litchfield Manor, and Roseview
Chairman Truitt commented that the Commission strongly
supports the schools, noting they prefer to have the school agreement prepared
at the preliminary plat stage. He pointed out that he appreciates the
developers who donate the land for the schools. He believes it is essential to
our community to have the best quality of schools available to the residents.
In response to Commissioner Watts, Mr. Thompson replied that
a letter is provided to the City Planning Department from the school district
only when they have a document from the developer identifying the donation of a
specific acreage for a school site.
In response to Vice Chair Blair, Director Chesney replied
that future design development standards will assist in ensuring a new
development includes a school site.
In response to Commissioner Hall, Mr. Thompson indicated
that the state has a formula that shows when a school will be funded for
In response to Commissioner Somers, Mr. Thompson stated that
typically the school district would not expand beyond its boundary.
Chairman Truitt opened the meeting for public comment.
Paula Forster, Surprise resident, voiced her
concern about Dysart not having a vocational/technical program. She also asked
for a report that would show the class size for each class.
Mr. Thompson replied that the district does have vocational
programs called signature programs.
Hearing no further comments from the public, Chairman Truitt
closed the public hearing.
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(3), the Planning and
Zoning Commission may go into executive session with the City Attorney for
legal advice on any item listed on the agenda.
Hearing no further business, the Planning and Zoning
Commission workshop meeting was adjourned on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 6:47