Accelerated Learning Laboratory, a Tucson charter school, is set to offer $2.55 million to purchase Green Fields School, which announced recently that it was closing due to financial troubles.
The plan would keep the property as a school, and create a museum honoring the history and legacy of the 86-year-old private school, according to filings in the bankruptcy case.
Green Fields will likely go to auction in the beginning of September, with Accelerated’s offer starting the bidding process.
Court documents say the property will go to the “highest and best bidder,” with priority given to maintain the property as a not-for-profit school. The filings say “preserving and continuing the legacy of Green Fields Schools, after payment of creditors in full, is more important ... than receiving additional dollars for a non-operating corporation.”
David Jones, the headmaster of Accelerated, which is about 4 miles away from Green Fields, says he has old ties to the private school and that keeping it running is important to the whole community.
“If we forget our history, we forget our past; we forget part of who we are,” Jones said.
Since Green Fields announced its closure on July 9, numerous entities have expressed interest in acquiring the approximately 21-acre property, court documents say. Four companies toured the school and two more are scheduled to tour it in the coming weeks. As of Wednesday, Accelerated is the only one that has put an offer in writing.
Accelerated is hoping to open Green Fields for the 2019/20 school year, said Serei Kay, a director with the charter. The requested deadline for the auction and sale of Green Fields is Sept. 13, more than a month after most schools have begun the year. Kay says they could extend the year into the summer to reach the required number of school days.
While the 2019/20 school year is not a sure thing, Kay says Accelerated will start advertising, recruiting and accepting applications to Green Fields as soon as possible. All the previous Green Fields families, teachers and staff have been searching out other schools and employment for the last month.
If Accelerated wins the bidding process, it’s still undecided what they’ll change about Green Fields.
Jones has said the school could end up being a mix of a private and charter school. The name also could be changed to Accelerated Learning Laboratory Green Fields.
Contact reporter Danyelle Khmara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4223. On Twitter: @DanyelleKhmara