Neighbors Help Keep Door Open To Make Tonalea Charter School.

When we left off, readers learned that the neighborhood surrounding the closed Tonalea Elementary School had gotten what they asked for:  No Scottsdale Unified School District Resource Center. 
And one group is tickled pink about it. 
Respect Our Scottsdale Students (ROSS) is a group of education activists whose mission is murky.  It's hard to determine if ROSS is actually an education watchdog or just on a witch hunt to unseat Superintendent David Peterson.  Or maybe a little bit of both.
Whatever the case ... the group recently posted this bizarre statement on their Face Book page: "Let's be honest - and candid.  We're in a Love/Hate relationship with the District.  We're the abused partner in the relationship.  But part of the reason we are angry is that our abusive partner fails to serve our needs for reasons not completely within its control.  Let there be no mistake.  We are abused."
This sounds like a cry for help. 
Abused or not, the people at ROSS haven't just inserted themselves into the Tonalea turmoil, they've become one of the primary voices in the vitriol.
"If SUSD cannot operate a school on that property successfully, then lease it to a Charter or Private school," the group recently posted. "Many of them are begging for space in Scottsdale.  It is more than a bit disingenuous to try to shove something into Tonalea just to block other schools from using the property.  MAKE TONALEA A SCHOOL!"
That statement is revealing.  In fact some are saying it confirms that ROSS is an advocacy organization for Charter Schools, and, as such, is an adversary of public schools.  Hence, their harsh criticism of virtually every decision made by SUSD and each move by Superintendent Peterson. 
Earlier this week, ROSS pleaded with people to "Send all parents the link to every Charter (school) in Scottsdale so we can get out of this asylum asap."
ROSS has issues ... and, sadly, not just ones about education.
The group, actually more like a cult, certainly has no issue with what Governor Doug Ducey wants to do to our public education system.  In his first State of the State address, the new governor said he wants to create the "Arizona Public School Achievement District" through which Charter Schools could apply to use unoccupied classrooms in our public schools.  That could easily mean Tonalea.
Furthermore, Governor Ducey proposes allowing the state to broker and guarantee construction loans for Charter Schools.  That move would save Charter Schools millions of dollars in loans, which, he says, could then be invested in private school classrooms.
That's the principal reason why ROSS is so active in assuring nothing is done with Tonalea Elementary School other than keeping it a school - especially if that means converting it into a Charter School.
ROSS has a political crush on SUSD Board member Pam Kirby, who has turned into the organization's go-to gal on the Governing Board.  Kirby, the only member of the Board who was reluctant to support the successful override campaign last fall, is calling for a full-scale investigation into the former agreement between SUSD and past Board member Denny Brown to turn Tonalea into a Resource Center.  That agreement was dissolved last week. 
"The integrity and credibility of SUSD leadership is being questioned and an independent investigation might possibly be the only way to rebuild trust and confidence in SUSD," Kirby said. 
A meeting of the Board to consider Kirby's request will take place at 11AM today at the SUSD Education Center.
Meanwhile ... the school sits empty, a former shell of itself.  No more laughter or life.  Only the quiet decay of a once vibrant place now caught in the middle of an unfortunate political battle.