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Scottsdale Unified Weighs AG Investigation

Credit: Scottsdale Unified School District

By Melissa Fittro for Scottsdale Independent

The Scottsdale Unified School District’s top leaders and their attorneys met behind closed doors for six hours last Thursday as the district prepares to make an announcement regarding allegations swirling locally and at the Arizona Attorney General’s office.

It was the third executive session held in one week, and the fifth meeting of the week overall. A special meeting is expected to be held on Dec. 19, where a formal statement is anticipated.

On Nov. 29, the Arizona Attorney General’s office confirmed its involvement in an investigation looking into the business practices of the Scottsdale Unified School District. SUSD Public Information Officer Erin Helm also confirmed a separate district investigation during a Nov. 30 emailed response to questions.

The investigations stem from the procurement process the school district utilized to hire Hunt & Caraway Architects for renovations on high school athletic fields and the design of school rebuilds. A series of events occurring in early 2016 has resulted in many Scottsdale Unified School District parents and community members questioning the ethics of their district leaders.

Questions began to sprout within the Hopi Elementary School community earlier this fall when the school was set to begin a complete tear-down and rebuild.

Hunt & Caraway Architects Principal Brian Robichaux had been leading the charge on Hopi’s redesign. Paperwork shows the firm was first hired by the district in April 2016 to work on a “facilities master plan” prior to the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board approving the bond ballot initiative.

District documents, Arizona Corporation Commission files and procurement records show that neither Hunt & Caraway nor Orcutt | Winslow went through a public SUSD procurement process, but rather were approved through a Phoenix-based national cooperative, 1 Government Procurement Alliance in 2016.

1 Government Procurement Alliance — also known as 1GPA — is a nonprofit national governmental purchasing cooperative that allows public agencies to take advantage of existing contracts to purchase the goods and services they need from local and national vendors, according to a Request for Qualifications document dated Jan. 14, 2016.

Records posted to illustrate an architectural services RFQ for the State of Arizona, and SUSD was designated as the lead agency for the procurement.

Documents between January-December 2016 depict the details of the district’s procurement process bringing Hunt & Caraway to SUSD.

Read more at Scottsdale Independent.

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