Letter: Wishing neighboring districts the best as they deliberate unification option

Editor:

After carefully reviewing facts regarding what a unification/consolidation impact would have on Clarkdale-Jerome School District, the Clarkdale-Jerome Governing Board took unanimous action to not consider unification/consolidation with our neighboring districts.

The size of our district makes it unique regarding funding available for small school districts. Clarkdale­Jerome would lose over $487,000 annually in federal funds only available to small school districts. The Board also reviewed the Arizona Auditor General’s report that is published each year. This report demonstrated that Clarkdale-Jerome has the highest teacher salaries, more money spent directly in school classrooms, and the lowest average administration costs than other districts in the Verde Valley.

Clarkdale-Jerome students have consistently scored higher on Arizona state assessments than our neighboring districts. The Board discussed the need for further improvement, but did not feel that unification would in any way help with the academic success of our students.

The discussion/action item was on our May 9 governing board agenda and this action will be reflected in our Board minutes.

We wish our neighboring districts the best as they deliberate this unification option, and of course, will always continue to participate in collaborations and shared services to benefit all our districts and our students.

Jill Zaske

Governing Board President, Clarkdale-Jerome School District #3

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