Bittersweet day at Thornydale as school shuts its doors

Bittersweet day at Thornydale as school shuts its doors
Marana Unified School District said only about 300 students are enrolled at Thornydale Elementary School.

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Wednesday, May 22, is the last day for Marana schools, but for one school it is truly the last day.

The morning bell rang at Thornydale Elementary School one final time on the day the school was scheduled to close down for good.

Citing low enrollment, the district made the decision in December, affecting about 300 families.

Families described the school as family-oriented and a community, qualities they’ll miss the most.

“All the family activities ... It’s just been completely different than any of the other schools my older one went to," Melissa Hammond said.

Joshua Hanson said, “It was just a little good community that everyone knew each other. And ... it was close to my house actually, so I was looking forward to my kids walking to school, but things change. It happens.

The decision to shutter the school didn't sit well with some families. But district leaders said enrollment had dropped from 733 about 25 years ago to 306 the current school year.

The district said enrollment was predicted to continue to decline in the years to come.

Now students will attend either Quail Run Elementary or Butterfield Elementary, both about five minutes away from Thornydale.

MUSD said it plans to add more teachers at the schools to accommodate the extra students. Meanwhile, Thornydale teachers will be moved to other school sites within the district, leaders said.

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