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Deer Valley debating day school transformation

The Deer Valley Unified School District may make a big change at one of its schools next year.

The district said it needs a day school that would house between 88 and 105 special needs students.

"Students with disabilities, which are now currently placed in private schools for intensive educational settings of behavior and academics, could all be placed in one central area," said district spokeswoman Heidi Vega.

To do that, the district is considering turning one of its five elementary schools into a day school. Those five schools that may be altered are Bellair, Desert Winds, Greenbrier, Mountain Shadows and Sunrise elementary schools. All of those schools have enrollments of less than 500 students.

If the district follows through with the plan, students at one of those five schools would be transferred to other schools, and the campus would then be transformed into the day school.

Vega said the district is trying to do all of this while living within its' means.

"We're receiving more and more budget cuts from the state," she said. "Our enrollment continues to decline, unfortunately, and we have to find a way to be fiscally responsible as a district."

Vega said that three out of every five homes in the Deer Valley Unified School District do not have an elementary school-aged child living there.

The district board will take up the proposal at a meeting on Jan. 8.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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