The TUSD Governing Board unanimously approved lease agreements Tuesday for Jefferson Park and Roberts elementary schools, which were shut last year.

The funds generated by the lease agreements can be used for programs that improve achievement, attract students and reduce dropouts.

The International School of Tucson, a tuition-based independent school, will move into Jefferson Park, 1701 E. Seneca St., next month and hopes to begin holding classes there in January.

The Roberts campus will be occupied by Pima Community College, which plans to move its Adult Education program, its Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute, and other services to the school at 4355 E. Calle Aurora.

In both cases, the tenants will be responsible for all maintenance and utilities.

The International School of Tucson was granted a 10-year lease with the option to renew for two additional five-year terms. The school, which offers a language-immersion program, serves students in preschool through the eighth grade.

The lease agreement is expected to reduce the annual maintenance and operations expenditures by $30,000 to $50,000, and will provide up to $100,000 in additional annual income.

The first 11 months of rent will be free. For year one, IST will pay $61,000; year two, $83,000; year three, $100,000; and for years four through 10, annual increases equal to the consumer price index.

There is also a clause in the contract stating that the IST is prohibited from forming a charter school on the premises.

Three of the four board members applauded the deal, saying the private school is essentially a noncompetitor and the majority of its students do not live within TUSD boundaries.

Board member Adelita Grijalva expressed concerns that the school is indeed competition, but said she was willing to support the agreement because the Jefferson Park Neighborhood favors having a school there.

For the Roberts campus, Pima College will be investing at least $300,000 in capital improvements during the first term of its lease - five years - including the construction of a parking lot.

The lease will begin when both parties sign, which must occur before July 1. The Boys and Girls Club and a Head Start program will continue to operate at Roberts as they have in the past.

The lease agreement is expected to reduce maintenance and operations expenditures by $50,000 to $70,000, and will provide $70,000 to $130,000 in additional annual income.

For years one through 10, the annual base rent will be $70,000. Thereafter, the lease will be $130,000 adjusted annually to the consumer price index.

Last year, the district approved the closures of Duffy, Fort Lowell, Jefferson Park, Reynolds, Richey, Roberts, Rogers, Van Horne and Wrightstown elementary schools as a cost-saving measure.

TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone called the closure process "painful but appropriate." Pedicone was pleased that agreements could be reached that both the community and the district feel good about.

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Proposals sought again for 3 sites

TUSD for the second time is seeking solicitations for purchase, lease or exchange of three elementary school sites.

The district felt the first set of responses for the schools - Rogers, Van Horne and Wrightstown - were not acceptable.

On Dec. 7, the campuses will be open for viewing by interested parties from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

That will be followed by a pre-submittal conference for questions and answers on Dec. 12 at TUSD headquarters, 1010 E. 10th St., from 9 to 11 a.m.

The deadline to submit solicitations is Jan. 4.

For more information, go to

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at or 573-4175.