Local News

Tusayan Seeks Dialogue With Grand Canyon School District Over Sports Complex

November 8, 2021

What are the problems and how do we fix them? That’s essentially the message the Town of Tusayan has sent to the Grand Canyon School District following the School Board’s decision to trigger an arbitration clause in its agreement with the Town over the Sports Complex.

The School Board made that decision October 20th and has offered no explanation.

Board Secretary Sue Kerley told the Watchdog, “No comment will be issued from the District on this matter at this time.”

The School District owns the land which was obtained from the federal government more than ten years ago. Mayor Clarinda Vail played a key role in helping the district get the land when she served on the Grand Canyon School Board back in 2008.

After incorporation, the Town began working with the school district to use portions of the land as a park and sports complex. It has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a sports court, restrooms, a community garden, and planning.

Some of the plans for a Ramada had to be scaled back as estimates soared and Tusayan revenues shrank because of the pandemic. International supply chain issues have made the problem worse.

In a letter to the School Board, Tusyan’s Town Attorney noted that the Town had previously offered to resolve any issues concerning the Ramada. The letter states in part:

“The Board expressed dissatisfaction with the scaled-back project generally. In response, the Town called a joint meeting with the Board on August 26, 2021, at which Town Mayor Clarinda Vail invited the Board to list items in the project it felt were key to have phased in immediately in the interest of providing assurances to the Board that the work would be performed. To date, the Town has received no such communication from any Board member.”

Mayor Vail is hoping the School Board will reconsider the arbitration demand.

“I am extremely concerned about the situation but have received no facts from the Grand Canyon School Board to comment on at this time. I am hopeful we can work through whatever issues they may have and provide more information and comments when we know more," said Vail.

The letter to the School Board also seeks clarification and asserts the Grand Canyon School District has no real bases to invoke arbitration.

The letter reads in part:

“In the first place, as a legal matter, the Town is not certain what the District intends to arbitrate. Under Section 3.A of the Agreement, the parties agreed to submit issues related to approval to arbitration in the event that the District does not approve concept plans within 60 days. The District approved the concept plan already. Further, the scaled-back plans do not deviate materially from the original plans as set forth in the IGA, so no re-approval is required. In other words, there appears to be no triable issue for the District to arbitrate. The District’s action to unilaterally invoke an arbitration provision is without basis in law or fact.”