Editorial Pro-consolidation forces need to take citizen initiative route
It’s beginning to look like the grassroots committee advocating consolidation of the Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school districts would be better off to take matters into their own hands.
‘In a completely objective and non-politicized process, County School Superintendent Tim Carter’s office would do what our local consolidation committee is now trying to do in a highly charged emotional and politicized process’
The idea of having a community-based advisory committee assess the pros and cons of a marriage between the two districts isn’t working.
First, the committee is not community based, but, rather, heavily weighted with education establishment voices.
Second, instead of focusing on the pros and cons of consolidation, the committee’s work has denigrated into childish finger-pointing about perceived policy flaws of the respective districts. It has even been characterized by consolidation opponents as a hostile takeover. The course the committee has taken to date is only going to create ill will and discord between the Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek districts. That is hardly a healthy direction for the community.
Third, look at our history. School district consolidation elections have never gone to the voters because Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek agreed it should happen. That’s not likely to happen this time, either.
The proverbial hand-writing on the wall now should be obviously clear to pro-consolidation forces. If you want to see this go before voters, especially in 2018, the best course of action is to take out petitions from the Yavapai County School Superintendent’s Office and have local voters dictate that they want to have the final say on consolidation in an election.
Waiting on this committee to do its job – when in all likelihood Mingus is not going to agree with Cottonwood-Oak Creek that there should be an election on consolidation – is only robbing pro-unification forces of the valuable time they will need to put together a team, and a process, to secure the necessary petition signatures to force an election.
As for the committee’s role in educating the community about the merits, or lack of, school district consolidation, to date all this committee has shown us is that the folks from Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek do not get along.
Should this issue be turned over to voters via citizen initiative, it bears emphasis that the office of the county school superintendent is obligated, by law, to seek the needed information in conjunction with the county attorney, treasurer, and assessor offices and prepare several official projections/estimates about the financial impact to the voters/property owners.
In other words, in a completely objective and non-politicized process, County School Superintendent Tim Carter’s office would do what our local consolidation committee is now trying to do in a highly charged emotional and politicized process … and, in all honesty, a process that is not working well at all.