ESI still on board with C-OC District

Cottonwood Oak Creek Superintendent John Tavasci is hoping for good news from Arizona Attorney General's office.

On Friday, Tavasci met with an investigator and special agent of the AG's office regarding Education Services Incorporated.

ESI is an employment service that currently contracts with the C-OC School District for the employment of retired teachers and administrators.

In May, the Arizona Department of Education referred ESI to the School Fraud Task Force, a division of the AG's office, because of a perceived conflict of interest.

ESI is currently owned by Tavasci, C-OC Business Manager Sue Bring and former C-OC Assistant Superintendent Dave Osborn.

In July, Tavasci had intended to join 10 other staff members who contract with ESI for employment with the C-OC School District. Tavasci later rescinded his retirement with the district and resumed his position as a state employee following the AG's investigation. Osborn relinquished his position as assistant superintendent and as an ESI employee in June.

"We're going to continue to offer up those contracts to the board, and it's up to the board and the district's attorney whether they want to accept them," said Tavasci following Friday's meeting.

Tavasci won't disclose the content of the meeting, citing attorney-client privilege, but did say discussions with the AG's office were positive.

"From the tone of the meeting the advice is going to be good news," he said.

In late June, Tavasci said ESI wanted to cancel its contract with the district. "I'm not going to spend a large amount of money for a contract that I'm getting zero for," said Tavasci. "I'd just assume it was dissolved."

Now it sounds as if Tavasci may change direction again.

"I'm still hopeful after Friday's meeting that we can continue." he explained.

Tavasci said the investigator and special agent inquired about the overall operations of ESI and the district's attorney, Matt Right expressed interest in holding an additional executive session Aug. 14 to dispense further legal advise.

Board members participated in an executive session July 27 to attain legal advice regarding the ESI contracts.

Neither Matt Right nor C-OC School Board President Mike Mulcaire returned phone calls regarding ESI.

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