Thu, April 02

Senate passes school consolidation bill on third read

Sen. Sylvia  Allen

Sen. Sylvia Allen

VERDE VALLEY – Thursday, the Arizona State Senate floor voted 17-13 to pass SB 1073, the bill that could lend ease to efforts to consolidate the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and the Mingus Union school districts.

Earlier this week, SB 1073 was passed by the Senate Rules Committee – on Tuesday – and by the Senate’s Committee of the Whole – on Wednesday.

Next step for SB 1073 is the Arizona House of Representatives “to start the process all over again,” Sen. Sylvia Allen said.

Consolidation proponent Andy Groseta said following the Senate’s Thursday vote that his pro-consolidation group Committee for Better Upper Verde Valley Schools is “much appreciative of Senator Sylvia Allen’s efforts and thank[s] her for her strong leadership to help resolve any pending issues that deal with school  consolidation/unification.”

If SB 1073 passes through the House’s various committees, it then would go to Gov. Doug Ducey for approval.

What does SB 1073 mean?

Should a proposed consolidation of the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts go to vote, SB 1073 would leave the canvassing of votes as interpreted in Arizona Revised Statute 15-459 so each of three member districts – Clarkdale-Jerome, Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union – would be counted separately.

SB 1073 also states that the successor school district “that results from that unification or consolidation” would automatically continue to participate in the community’s career and technical education program – Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education – in the same manner as the former school district that was unified or consolidated.

Although a draft of SB 1073 also stated that $50,000 would be set aside to help offset transition costs of a new unified district, the appropriation language was removed “at the request of the Senate Appropriations Chair” but the amount for transition cost would be included in the budget, Carter also said.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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