As we begin a new year, thoughts and plans often turn toward the future. Here in the Queen Creek Unified School District (QCUSD), our future will be defined by one word: growth. As the district’s superintendent, I want to let you know that our staff is working hard to manage our growth responsibly while ensuring every student gets the premier-level education we currently provide.
According to a recent demographic study by research and consulting organization Applied Economics, the growth trend in Queen Creek will continue at a rapid pace for the next 10 years. QCUSD enrollment has increased 148 percent since 2013 and continues to rise. With new, young families moving to the community, we’ve seen the largest gain in K-2, with larger high school enrollment anticipated as the students grow.
This growth is also shown in development. Look anywhere in Queen Creek and you’ll probably be within view of a construction site. In the last 10 years, 17,000 new housing units were permitted, with a surge in multifamily permits this past year. Applied Economics is predicting five to seven years of “staggering demand” for schools and educational resources.
What does this mean for QCUSD? We are planning for that future. As it stands, district enrollment growth allows for campuses to continue their current operations through the next school year. However, the district will need to make changes the following year to accommodate enrollment for some of the campuses approaching capacity.
Some planned changes are well underway. QCUSD opened Schnepf Elementary in July and our third high school, Crismon High, opens later this year. New schools, renovations and expansions are all necessary to serve students during this period of hypergrowth, and will develop as resources become available.
In a community with high-quality education, retail and restaurant amenities, natural beauty and a friendly, wholesome culture, it’s no wonder so many families want to make our district their home. We know more are coming, and we want to be prepared when they get here.
Dr. Perry Berry has been superintendent of the Queen Creek Unified School District since June 2015.