Gilbert Annexes Land For Charter School

Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 4:39pm
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 3:28pm

The Gilbert Town Council approved plans last week to annex land where a new charter school will be built.

The spirited debate over the issue revealed differing views in the community about charter schools, spared in part because the Higley Unified School District once had its eye on the same land.

Attorney Ralph Pew, who represents American Leadership Academy, said the debate over district and charter schools is one better suited for the state Legislature, not a Town Council meeting.

“We want to be a viable and meaningful partner in the education of students in the town of Gilbert,” Pew said.

The Gilbert Town Council never had the power to stop the American Leadership Academy from building a K-12 school near Higley Road and Loop 202.

What it decided was whether to fold the county land into the town. Pew represents the charter and says the school’s plan addresses local issues such as traffic. 

“Those items have been reviewed, we’ve provided traffic studies, the town traffic engineer has reviewed them and agreed with them,” he said.

Council member Eddie Cook argued at the council meeting that the school went against the town’s master plan, which envisions commercial businesses on the land.

“This was not part of our vision,” Cook said.

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