Senate Committee OK’s school district consolidation bill
VERDE VALLEY – On a 5-to-3 vote that Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter called “a quick, rather uneventful process,” the State Senate’s Committee on Education passed SB 1073 Thursday.
SB 1073 now needs to be heard by the Senate’s Rules Committee, which Carter said Friday “easily could happen next week.”
“It could move pretty quickly,” Carter said.
Should SB 1073 be passed by the Senate, the House, then signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey, voters from the Clarkdale-Jerome, Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts would each vote on dissolving the Mingus Union School District and consolidating the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts.
SB 1073 leaves the canvasing of votes as interpreted in Arizona Revised Statute 15-459, so each will be counted separately.
SB 1073 also addresses the community’s career and technical education program – Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education.
According to a draft of SB 1073, the successor school district “that results from that unification or consolidation shall automatically continue to participate in that career [and] technical education district in the same manner as the former school district that was unified or consolidated.
The draft copy of SB 1073 also stated that $50,000 would be set aside to help offset transition costs of a new unified district.
But the appropriation language was removed “at the request of the Senate Appropriations Chair due to an extremely long agenda, with a promise to make sure the amount for transition cost was in the budget,” said Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter.
“Sen. Allen verified she will make sure” that the transition money is available if voters support the merger of the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts, said Carter.
Clarkdale-Jerome Superintendent Danny Brown said, “We want to thank Senator Allen and the Senate Education Committee for ensuring that CJSD voters, as part of the Mingus Union High School District, are allowed to have a say if they want to remain within the district or not. “
If voters are to have a say-so on the proposed school district consolidation, petitions will need to be filed with Carter’s office by 5 p.m. June 3, according to the consolidation election checklist.
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