Wednesday, April 25, 2012


The following information is the word for word email communication from Freedom Academy administrators to parents of students. No changes were made.

April 20, 2012

Dear Parents, Neighbors and Community:
SUBJECT: URGENT! School Expansion Changes Announced - Please Read
Summary: The Governing Board is currently looking at moving the location of the high school back to our current property originally approved by the Utah State Office of Education.  This location would be at the far west end of our current school’s property provided that solutions are found to mitigate safety, traffic and parking concerns.

Critical events have occurred in the last two weeks that have jeopardized the long-planned expansion of the school into the 9-12 grades over the coming years. The results of expert opinions, timing and an exploration of alternate options discussed at-length in Wednesday night’s public board meeting has brought us to 
this pivotal point in deciding the future of Freedom Preparatory High School.
What has Changed:
It was expected that the school would expand into the 9th grade next fall and take occupancy of a to-be-retrofitted office building on 820 N. just south west of the school. Within the last two weeks (April 6, 2012) it became apparent that the terms of that lease could not be met by the landlord.

As explained in the Governing Board meeting Wednesday night this week, the architects and engineers recently finished their studies.  Retrofitting the building (on 820 N.) to house students would be cost-prohibitive (over 3x original estimates). It became clear that moving to that property, as we have all been hoping for and expecting for many months, is suddenly and finally not a viable option and will not be possible.
As all available options were discussed, it became clear that:
1. The previously-proposed expansion site is not a possible option.
2. Portables on-site would not be plausible both because of the expensive-initial temporary costs to install them and unsightliness they bring.
3. We have explored many other options within close proximity, done research, financial analysis and considered economies of scale. We looked at it from all possible angles.
4. Expanding on-site is the only viable option for our 9th grade students to begin in school this fall as previously approved by the State two years ago.
5. Timing: If we don’t expand this year, credibility of the school may be placed in jeopardy. Furthermore, not moving forward will effectively orphan the 65 (of 75 possible) committed 9th grade enrollees. They have already missed ideal registration deadlines for other local high school options.
Timeline of Recent Events:
  • The Governing Board and School Administration held an emergency Board meeting on 3/29 at which point it was resolved to quickly schedule a board meeting where significant neighborhood and public comment could be obtained.
  • Given spring break and the need to meet with the builder, the Board meeting was scheduled for 4/18. Announcements of the meeting were sent out on April 14th and 16th to the parent community and surrounding neighbors.
  • On April 16, we met with the builder to discuss possible changes of building plans. At that time they suggested a three phase plan and offered financing based on our success, stability and achievements.
  • On April 16, we met with Mayor Curtis to update him on the problems with the lease at our planned 820 N. site.
  • On April 17, a member of the board and the administration met with the neighborhood association chair. At that time we discussed what had transpired with the lease and our need to explore other building options.
  • At the Board meeting on April 18, after a tour of the grounds, detailed review of the possible options (portables, find another location off-site, expand on our current property, and “do nothing”), the floor was opened to public comment as long as was desired by the attendees.  Twenty-one comments were voiced, which included neighborhood members, teachers and parents. Some expressed concerns that while expansion was a good thing for the school, expansion on-site revealed two major challenges, while others supported the expansion onsite.  The two areas prioritized:
a. Additional traffic and parking concerns to the neighborhood.
b. Safety concerns about the small high school (400 students which is significantly smaller than the other area high schools) on the same property as the current K-8 school essentially creating a K-12 school model.
  • After lengthy discussion, it was moved and seconded that the Board would direct the school administration to move forward with the high school expansion here at the present location, now and immediately pursue negotiations for a building and financing contract.  At the time the contract is signed the school would have developed plans for mitigating safety and traffic concerns. The matter was further discussed and a passing vote was taken of 5-2.
What is Next:
· A meeting of the Governing Board will be scheduled in the immediate future. Please watch for notification through standard channels (this email,, etc.).
· Public comment will be received at the meeting.
· The contract and plans suggested will be reviewed by the Board.
· A decision will be made.
· In the meantime the Administration is moving forward with the expansion plan as scheduled beginning with the student orientation meeting regarding the academic program for next year.
Get Informed:
· This document will be posted online at Additional information will be gathered there. Also, information will flow through:
o Email Flash (ensure these emails go to your inbox, not junk!)
· For accurate information regarding this process, please come by the school, call or email any member of the school administration. They have an open door policy, and would be happy to answer any questions or clarify misunderstandings.

Thank you,
The Freedom Academy Governing Board and Administration

1 comment:

  1. This is frustrating. The public input was closed before everyone who wanted to express their opinion could do so. There may have been 21 people who had a chance to voice an opinion, but there were far more that wanted to.

    The school is moving too fast and has not adequately planned for the potential negative impact of building on the current site.


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