Over the next several weeks we’re going to find out two things about Andy Groseta.
Groseta, the leader of the committee that has been pushing for a consolidation of the Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school districts, very well could be the best poker player in the Verde Valley.
See, Groseta isn’t blinking as he awaits the final card to be dealt his way. That card involves the successful passage of Senate Bill 1254, a “striker bill” introduced late in this legislative session. If approved by lawmakers and signed into law by the governor, SB 1254 will revamp several key elements of existing school district consolidation law.
The alternative, of course, is that Groseta is holding aces and eights, the proverbial dead man’s hand held by Old West gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok when he was murdered.
Either way, credit Groseta with being a bold gambler. He and his committee this past week launched their petition drive to have the hotly debated consolidation of Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek decided by voters in the November general election.
The language on the petitions being circulated mirrors that of SB 1254, which is now making the rounds through the legislature. That bill, in essence, would allow for Cottonwood-Oak Creek to be absorbed into the existing Mingus Union boundaries and leave Clarkdale-Jerome unharmed in the process. Further, it eliminates the “division of assets” issues that would exist if consolidation occurred as the law currently is written.
For Groseta, should SB 1254 speed through the legislature and retroactively be signed into law, he has to be credited with being about the most astute political player to ever set foot in the Verde Valley.
He is gambling on a lot of “ifs.”
And if SB 1254 does not pass muster with lawmakers or the governor, his entire consolidation petition drive will be null and void.
He’ll be stuck with aces and eights.
-- Dan Engler