COTTONWOOD – Arizona State Sen. Sylvia Allen admitted in an email to the Verde Independent/Camp Verde Bugle that how the Verde Valley’s career and technical education center would be affected by a merger of the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and the Mingus Union school districts “was never even thought of.”
But Allen also said that she will carry legislation to “make it statutorily clear” that “just as the tax dollars will continue to move to the new district created by consolidation, that will be the same” for Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education.
“This can be done before the consolidation deadline would take place,” Allen said.
On Aug. 23-24, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge David Mackey is scheduled to hear the school district’s legal team argue that the consolidation of the two school districts should not go to vote on Nov. 6. The hearing will take place in Prescott.
According to Allen, “the State will be defending the Constitutional challenge concerning SB1254.”
“I always appreciate and admire citizens that get involved with their community on various issues,” Sen. Allen stated “So I feel bad about the lawsuit brought by Mingus Union High School District. The Board does not have to use any of their private money to bring this suit, but the private citizens do. I am afraid that situations like this discourages other from participating in community issues.”
Allen also stated that she has received “other calls from individuals who are interested in consolidation to save education dollars and would like to have more information.”
“I believe that we need to reform the consolidation process to make it more simple and easy to implement if communities are interested in increasing the dollars into the classroom through consolidation,” Allen said.
Demand for judgment
In the lawsuit to stop consolidation from going to vote, the Mingus Union High School District is asking Yavapai County Superior Court Judge David L. Mackey for the following:
• Declaration that Arizona Revised Statute 15-459 (B) (7) is invalid special legislation under the Arizona Constitution;
• Declaration that Section 4 of SB 1254 is invalid special legislation under the Arizona Constitution;
• Declaration that the petition created confusion and misled electors by obscuring the fact that A.R.S. 15-459 (B) (7) was not yet in effect;
• Precluding the Board of Supervisors and Recorder from placing SHT18001-INT on the Nov. 6 general election ballot in Yavapai County;
• Awarding plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees under A.R.S. 12-348 (A) (4), -2030, the private attorney general doctrine and any other applicable rule, case or statute;
• Awarding plaintiffs court costs against the committee pursuant to A.R.S. 12-341 and -1840; and
• Awarding plaintiffs all other relief as is just, proper or equitable under the facts and circumstances of this case.