COTTONWOOD – Folks on both sides of the Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school district consolidation talks want to know whether voters will have their say-so.
According to Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter, the answer is yes. And it’s no.
“For us to do what we have to do, we have to assume there’s going to be an election,” Carter said Monday.
Last Friday, Carter’s office distributed a revised consolidation election checklist to superintendents at Cottonwood-Oak Creek, Mingus Union, Clarkdale-Jerome and the Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education districts.
So far, nobody has officially challenged the signatures collected by Andy Groseta’s Committee for Better Upper Verde Valley Schools, Carter said. But that could change.
“A court can always stop the process,” Carter said.
Carter also said that a community member or community group “could get a challenge up until the election, even up to the canvas date.”
“That option is always there,” Carter said. “But on July 5, our office is moving forward.”
If the County School Superintendent’s Office did not start by July 5, “we couldn’t get the statutory guidelines completed,” Carter said.
July 6 is also an important date in the consolidation process, as Carter’s office will begin to compile the information it will include in the information pamphlet.
Carter’s office will also announce a call for election to County Elections, the County Recorder and the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.
No later than July 6, pro/con notices will be placed in local newspapers, Carter said. Any resident, “anybody,” would be allowed to submit an argument either for or against the merger of the two districts.
Each statement, Carter said, will be included in the publicity packet, “so long as it meets the statutory guidelines,” Carter said.
The statutory guidelines will be explained in the July 6 pro/con notice, Carter said.
Important dates, election checklist, consolidation of Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school districts
July 5 – Election should be called by Yavapai County School Office by July 5 to have the final approved ballot question submitted to Yavapai County Elections by the 5 p.m. Aug. 10 deadline.
July 6 – Yavapai County School Office starts to compile information to be included in Information Pamphlet, including consolidation plan.
Information Pamphlet, including consolidation plan, are due to the printer Aug. 8.
July 6 – Yavapai County School Office places pro/con notices in newspaper.
The pro/con deadline is 5 p.m. July 24.
There is no maximum or minimum limit on the number of pro and con arguments that can be printed for this ballot question.
July 9 – Yavapai County School Office starts preparing Information Pamphlet, including consolidation plan, Spanish translation, layout, sample ballot, printing, labeling and mailing.
Districts will be responsible for all costs incurred in the preparation and mailing of pamphlet.
July 19 – Yavapai County School Office prepares Notice of Election for posting by 5 p.m. Aug. 2.
July 24 – 5 p.m. deadline for PRO/CON arguments due to Yavapai County School Office.
Aug. 1 – By 5 p.m., Yavapai County School Office provides Information Pamphlet, including consolidation plan, to Mingus Union, Cottonwood-Oak Creek, Clarkdale-Jerome and Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education district governing boards for review and comments.
Aug. 2 – Yavapai County School Office posts election notices and files affidavit of posting.
Aug. 3 – Yavapai County School Office will accept governing boards’ resolutions outlining comments regarding the Information Pamphlet, including the consolidation plan, by 5 p.m. Aug. 3.
Oct. 2 – Deadline date for mailing information pamphlet, including consolidation plan.
Only one pamphlet, including consolidation plan, will be mailed to each household containing a registered voter.
Oct. 2 – Yavapai County School Office submits Information Pamphlet, including consolidation plan, to Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives for informational purposes.
Oct. 9 – Last date to register to vote.
Oct. 10 – Early voting begins.
Oct. 12 – Last date for Yavapai County School Office to post election notice. Notices are required to be posted in at least three public places not less than 25 days prior to the election.
Nov. 6 – Election day