Editorial: Strange choice of words by Mingus on consolidation issue

Two different policy-making groups took up the same question regarding school district consolidation this week.

The question deals with last week’s action by Cottonwood-Oak Creek to ask County School Superintendent Tim Carter to put the consolidation question on the November 2018 ballot.

And that’s basically how the advisory committee to the Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek districts prefaced the issue for discussion at its Tuesday meeting. The agenda item up for discussion reads as follows: “The committee will discuss the impact of COCSD’s request to the County School Superintendent (to) call an election to allow the collective district voters to determine the consolidation question at a November 2018 election.”

Later Tuesday, at the regular Mingus Union School Board meeting, the same question was posed as the following agenda item: “The Board will discuss and possibly take action regarding continuing the Advisory Committee following the decision by the COCSD Board to vote without the community’s input and the decision not to hire a consultant.”

Interesting choice of words.

It’s disingenuous for Mingus to accuse Cottonwood-Oak Creek “to vote without the community’s input” when the C-OC board action to call an election represents the ultimate in letting the community weigh in on consolidation.

Further, C-OC board members have been quite clear on their position from the beginning. Consolidation has been studied and debated to death over the past 30 years. The issues remain the same today as they were 5, 10 and 20 years ago. Cottonwood-Oak Creek understands the issues clearly. The school board thinks it’s best to let the voters decide the issue.

We have three school boards in the Upper Verde and two have weighed in decisively on consolidation. From the very beginning of the movement, Clarkdale-Jerome decisively said “No.” The CJSD Board made a firm decision without casting aspersions on the actions or motivations of the other two districts.

Cottonwood-Oak Creek likewise now has decisively said it wants the voters to decide the consolidation question, and the decision was made without taking potshots at Mingus. Quite the opposite, in fact; board members said C-OC would continue to serve on the advisory committee to help Mingus come to a decision.

Mingus, on the other hand, still has yet to make a decision. Mingus wants to continue studying an issue that has been studied to death.

And by some strange twist of logic, Mingus wants to accuse Cottonwood-Oak Creek of voting “without the community’s input” when its very action is to let the community decide the issue.

It’s starting to look like Mingus is looking for a way out of this consolidation quagmire while making Cottonwood-Oak Creek look like the bad guy.

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