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Future of Thornydale Elementary remains in limbo as parents, officials set to meet

Posted at 5:52 AM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 12:17:06-05

The future of Thornydale Elementary School remains in Limbo months after the Marana Unified School District governing was left in a split decision as to whether or not shutdown the school. 

RELATED: Thornydale Elementary to remain open after split vote 

On November 9, the district sent home a letter in which they notified parents about two upcoming meetings to discuss the schools future. 

The full letter is below.

To Thornydale Parents and Guardians:

As you are aware, the Marana district has continued to closely monitor student enrollment numbers at Thornydale Elementary School over the past several years. Enrollment has declined at Thornydale since 1994, with an enrollment of 733 students, to an enrollment of 306 students this school year. The District contributes the consistent decline in enrollment due to the neighborhood having matured resulting in fewer elementary school age students in the area. In addition, the District recognizes that no new homes are projected to be built in the future which would contribute to growth in the Thornydale area. In keeping with good fiscal responsibility the District acknowledges that school district budget revenues are solely generated on a per pupil basis; therefore school enrollment is vitally important to the sustainability of a school. Due to a consistent decline in enrollment and the need to ensure school sustainability and fiscal responsibility of the resources entrusted to the District by taxpayers, the Governing Board of the Marana Unified School District is considering the closure of Thornydale Elementary School in June 2019. You are invited to attend a Marana Unified School District Governing Board Public Meeting on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. At this public meeting, in accordance with A.R.S. §15-341(A)(32), the school district Governing Board shall hear reasons for or against the closure of Thornydale Elementary School. The meeting will be held at 6:00pm at Thornydale Elementary School in the school cafeteria. At this same Public Meeting on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, a proposed change to current attendance boundaries for Quail Run Elementary School and Butterfield Elementary School will be presented with the reasons for or against the closure of Thornydale Elementary School. The proposed boundary would change the attendance boundary currently serving the Thornydale Elementary area to either Quail Run Elementary or Butterfield Elementary. Information regarding the proposed boundary change and a map delineating the proposed change can be viewed on the District’s Website at On Thursday, December 6, 2018, the school district Governing Board may vote on this matter during their regularly scheduled Governing Board Public Meeting. The meeting will begin at 7:00pm at the Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Drive in Marana, Arizona 85653. Please know that District Administration and the Governing Board take the discussion to close Thornydale very seriously and is not one that is taken lightly. We also recognize it is our fiscal responsibility to ensure school sustainability for all 12,300 students served and to be responsible for the resources entrusted to the District by taxpayers. Parents, students, staff, and community are encouraged to attend the Governing Board Public Meetings to share their thoughts. If you are unable to attend the Public Meetings, information can be shared with the Governing Board utilizing the District’s “Let’s Talk” 24/7 communication tool, or by providing a written statement to the school principal, or email at I hope you have the opportunity to attend the Public Meeting or to share your thoughts using one of our communication tools. I want to thank you in advance for your understanding regarding our duties and responsibilities to ensure the best educational environment for all students and staff in the Marana Unified School District.

Sincerely, Doug Wilson, Ed.D. Superintendent

RELATED: Thornydale Elementary School parents concerned after potential closure

The first meeting is scheduled for November 20. During the meeting the board is hoping to hear reasons for and against the closure of the school from parents and community members.

The second meeting is scheduled for December 6, according to the letter. During the meeting, it is possible the district will make the final decision as to whether Thornydale Elementary will remain open or if it will close. 

In the letter sent home to parents, the district says their big reason for considering the shutdown of Thornydale is due to declining enrollment. 

RELATED: Nearly 300 attend meeting to discuss future of Thornydale Elementary

Enrollment has steadily decreased since 1994, according to the district, going from an enrollment of 733 students in 1994 to 306 students in 2018. 

THe district believes that decline is due in part to the maturing of the area, adding they don't see those numbers changing anytime soon with no new development in the works.