Cottonwood-Oak Creek keeps door open to district merger
COTTONWOOD – Before going into executive session to negotiate, then unanimously approve a one-year contract for Assistant Superintendent Steve King to replace outgoing Superintendent Barb U’Ren, the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District governing board heard comments from Clarkdale resident Phil Terbell in support of merging COCSD, Mingus Union and Clarkdale-Jerome school districts.
Following Terbell’s comments, board president Finger agreed with the community activist’s desire for a merger.
“I believe it’s better for our students, even if we don’t save a penny,” Finger said. “And to see [discussions] coming from the community is rather exciting.”
Terbell told the board he understood that a merger would not only affect Cottonwood-Oak Creek, Mingus Union and Clarkdale-Jerome school districts, but that it would also affect Valley Academy of Career and Technical Education.
“Unification of the entire Verde Valley would be ideal,” Terbell told the board. “But I don’t know if I’m up for that.”
Finger also said that having a superintendent under contract would not likely affect a district merger, provided a merger is what the people wanted.
Board members agreed that they supported additional discussion regarding possible merging of districts.
Though Clarkdale-Jerome School District is currently searching for a replacement for interim superintendent Kathleen Fleenor, Mingus Union High School District’s governing board agreed on Feb. 28 to enter into contract negotiations with Dr. Penny Hargrove, superintendent at Hiawatha Public Schools in Hiawatha, Kansas.
Dr. Hargrove would replace MUHSD Interim Superintendent Dr. Jack Keegan.