Public Education Partnerships
As the third-fastest-growing city in the country, Chandler is faced with the challenge of providing the resources needed by our citizens from both the local government and the public school system. It is critical in times of rapid growth to go beyond conventional means and look to innovative partnerships to provide the resources and facilities our citizens have come to expect from us. In Chandler, a city of 135,000 located southeast of Phoenix, we have partnered with local school districts on many occasions, providing first-class facilities and programs that would be unattainable without the cooperative spirit shown by all parties.
The Chandler Center for the Arts, a multi-use performing arts complex built with funds from both the city and the Chandler Unified School District, is used for classes and performances by the schools' students. The center is one of the most widely used in the Phoenix metropolitan area, with three stages and an adjoining public art display area.
The city manages the center and brings in international, national and local acts throughout the year, resulting in almost daily use of the 1,550-seat facility. Without the partnership of the two entities, the $10.2 million facility could not have been built.
A second alliance with the Mesa School District resulted in Chandler's award-winning Desert Oasis Aquatics Center. The Mesa School District has several schools located within the Chandler city limits, including Hendrix Junior High School, one of the few junior highs in the district that lacked a pool for competitive swimming. While land was available at the school, it was clear that funding for the pool was not.
The location of the school in the city's northern sector was perfect for us, given the city was looking for a place to build a pool in the same general area. After much discussion, the partnership formed. With the land donated by the district, and much of the construction costs handled by the city, the Aquatics Center was built in 1993. The $1.4 million facility is used by students extensively during the school year and is open in the summer as part of the city's recreational swim program. Maintenance and operational costs are split between the city and the school district. The partnership and unique design of the pool and its many features have earned the center many awards, both at the state and national level, and is a fine example of what alliances of this nature can do for a community.
Knowing young people are the foundation of any successful community, the City Council has been quite proactive in creating some very successful programs to help fund and organize youth activities in Chandler. Two years ago, a Youth Town Hall was held with representatives from local school districts and the city. Based on that we instituted a Mayor's Youth Commission, and an annual $400,000 Youth Enhancement Fund administered by the city specifically to provide financial resources to local projects involving youth.
Contact: Office of the Mayor, (602) 786-2200
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright ©1996, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.