Superintendent Carter outlines consolidation governance structure

COTTONWOOD – Each of consolidation’s four affected school districts, Cottonwood-Oak Creek, Mingus Union, Clarkdale-Jerome and Valley Academy, has a five-member governing board with members who serve four terms.

If voters approve the merger of the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts, there would be an eight-month period – November 2018 through June 2019 – where there would be “three district governing boards operational at the same time,” Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter stated in a draft of Consolidation Election Impact on Governance.

The Mingus board would continue to conduct Mingus business through the termination of that district on June 30, as would the Cottonwood-Oak Creek board, Carter stated in the draft.

The third board would be a 10-member combined board, as each of the Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek board members would be part of the initial unified school district’s first governing board.

Though there would be a November 2019 election to select five new members of the new unified school district, the 10 would serve the unified district until Dec. 31, 2019, Carter also stated.

Carter also explained in the draft that “to begin a statutorily required rotation system, the initial election will have two 2-year terms and three 4-four year terms. Upon subsequent elections, all five seats will then become 4-year terms.”

The Clarkdale-Jerome school board would not change.

But the Valley Academy board would change, Carter said. How it would change, Carter said he’s still not sure of the details.

It “remains in legal question,” Carter said. “We do not know exactly what that solution will be.”

Carter still has several questions to how the Valley Academy’s board would change without a Cottonwood-Oak Creek or a Mingus Union school district.

“Is the [VACTE} board reduced to three members? Will the new unified district be able to seek voter approval to join the Valley Academy, raising that number to four members?” Carter asked in his draft. “There is no legal precedent for this situation that we have been able to identify.”

Carter said that his office has made the following agencies aware of this issue: Arizona Senate and House of Representatives, the Governor’s Office, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Arizona Department of Education, and the Arizona State Board of Education.”

“All have expressed a willingness to find a legislative solution to this issue before June 30, 2019,” Carter said.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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