Schools & Shared Services: Final report on Warner Group Study is delayed

COTTONWOOD - The final report on the shared services feasibility study by the Carolyn Warner Group has been delayed until mid December, according to David Bolger, partner in Corporate Education Consulting (the name the Warner Group is now under). The governing boards of Mingus Union High School, Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Clarkdale-Jerome districts have a joint meeting Nov. 15 to hear those results.

According to Bolger, that meeting is still scheduled but will now be a preliminary report only. Bolger said his group needed to have the results of Proposition 204 in the Nov. 6 election before finalizing its report.

"We wanted the boards making a decision on complete data," Bolger said.

The Warner Group Study is based on House Bill 2075, to determine data that would indicate areas where savings could be gained through shared services. The study is paid for by the Yavapai County School Superintendent's Office.

The study looked at three tiers of possible cost sharing among the districts. Those include instruction and support staff; district office management, including payroll, technology and grant writing; and shared administration.

The districts are already sharing some services, including a Director of Special Education.

MUHS and COCSD originally agreed to the study because they have, most of this year, been involved in discussions about sharing services, including possibly sharing administration positions such as superintendent.

MUHS and COCSD boards thought they would receive the Warner Study report during the summer. But the study report was delayed until after the election so any new school board members could be included. Both boards asked the county superintendent's office not to delay the report. The Warner Group apparently denied that request.

The districts also had scheduled a joint meeting for Nov. 20 at MUHS to discuss the information received during the report on Nov. 15. There has been no word yet on whether that meeting will be held or delayed until after the mid-December report.

Proposition 204 would have created a permanent 1-cent sales tax surcharge to be used, in part, for education. A current and temporary 1-cent sales tax used primarily to offset deep budget cuts to education funding by the Arizona Legislature, was passed in 2010 as Prop 201. That 1-cent will disappear on May 31.

Not only has Prop 204 been defeated, but also both MUHS and COCSD each now have two new school board members.

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