Mingus agrees to new money split with V’ACTE

Intergovernmental agreement calls for 70-30 division of V’ACTE funds for instructional purposes vs. administration

‘The amount of money received by V’ACTE vs. the amount spent on programs is a huge problem’
-- Jim Ledbetter, Mingus Union School Board

‘The amount of money received by V’ACTE vs. the amount spent on programs is a huge problem’ -- Jim Ledbetter, Mingus Union School Board

COTTONWOOD – The relationship between Mingus Union High School and the Valley Academy of Career and Technical Education is much like a rocky marriage.

There is a commitment to succeed.

But there are also some issues that need to be resolved.

The big issue for Mingus is the $393,986 it claims V’ACTE shortchanged the high school between 2012 and 2016 for voc-ed education services.

On the table for the Mingus School Board Tuesday was a contractual agreement on the money split V’ACTE would provide the high school for voc-ed education next year and tentatively over the next two years.

As explained by Interim Mingus Superintendent Jack Keegan, the intergovernmental pact was jointly negotiated between V’ACTE and the Mingus, Camp Verde and Sedona-Oak Creek school districts. It calls for a 70-percent disbursement of V’ACTE funding on direct classroom spending for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

Further, the contract states the percentage will increase to 75 percent a year from now and 80 percent in two years “unless V’ACTE is faced with financial problems due to federal and state audits.”

Financial Problems

Already, Valley Academy’s own in-house audit disclosed 47 negative findings that V’ACTE “lacked adequate internal controls over processes for cash, capital assets, disbursements, payroll, and accounting records.” It further noted that V’ACTE was in “substantial noncompliance” with the guidelines required by the Uniform System of Financial Records.

Keegan credited V’ACTE Superintendent Bob Weir with a fair split of classroom vs. administrative allocations in the new contract. He said Weir and the V’ACTE board “are working hard at cleaning things up” and the new intergovernmental agreement was a “win-win” for all three school districts and V’ACTE.

Likewise, Mingus Board President Anita Glazar said she was “very appreciative” of the effort and working relationship that exists between V’ACTE and MUHS. “I’m so proud of everybody,” said Glazar. “We’ve arrived at a really good place.”

Still unconvinced is Mingus Board Member Jim Ledbetter. While voting in support of the IGA, Ledbetter said the pending claim over the alleged short-changing of the high school by V’ACTE is a source of conflict. “The amount of money received by V’ACTE vs. the amount spent on programs is a huge problem,” said Ledbetter.

The new contract between V’ACTE and Mingus was approved by a 4-0 vote. While participating in discussions concerning the IGA, Board Member Anthony Lozano ultimately abstained from voting and did not explain his reasons for doing so.

Legal issues with V’ACTE

Also Tuesday, the school board met in executive session for 45 minutes with its attorney to discuss Mingus’ $393,986 claim against V’ACTE.

After coming back into open session, Board President Glazar made a motion directing Mingus’ attorney to proceed based on direction given during the executive session. It was approved by a 4-0 vote.

Again, Lozano abstained from the vote and did not explain his reasons for doing so.

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