Grass roots group solicits consolidation election checklist

Phil Terbell ‘still trying to nail down that petition language’

In March 2017, Phil Terbell tells the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School Board that he would like to see the school district consolidate and unify with the Mingus Union school district. (Photo by Bill Helm)

In March 2017, Phil Terbell tells the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School Board that he would like to see the school district consolidate and unify with the Mingus Union school district. (Photo by Bill Helm)

CLARIFICATION: Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter did not release Phil Terbell's name as the citizen who came forth requesting information. That information came from reporting by the Verde Independent.

COTTONWOOD – There are three groups involved in consolidation talks between Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts.

Consolidation election checklist

COTTONWOOD – Though petitions must be filed with Tim Carter’s office by June 4, petitions can be pulled by June 3.

According to the checklist provided by the office of the Yavapai County School Superintendent’s office pertaining to consolidation election for C-OC and Mingus Union, the 1,619 necessary signatures represents “the signatures of 10 percent or more of the number of qualified electors who voted in the last two general elections and who reside in each of the two districts.”

Other important dates from the consolidation election checklist:

• June 4 – Last day to challenge petitions

• June 24 – Verification from voter registration from challenged petitions

• July 9 – School district(s) shall provide consolidation plan to County School Office (Arizona Revised Statute 15-459 D)

• Aug. 3 – County School Office provides information pamphlet to district(s) for review and final approval

• Aug. 10 – Deadline to submit ballot question

• Oct. 2 – Deadline for mailing of information pamphlet

• Nov. 6 – Election

• June 30, 2019 – If voters approve the consolidation plan, the [new] unified school district becomes operational from and after June 30 next year following the election (ARS 15-459-G)

-Bill Helm

Two of the groups are the districts most acutely involved in the proposed merger – Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union.

The third, the group led by former Mingus Union school board member Andy Groseta, approached the districts in February and March 2017 about the two districts becoming one.

Since the Cottonwood-Oak Creek school board officially voiced its support of consolidation late last year, only Mingus Union has not declared an official position.

Friday, Phil Terbell began the process of placing the vote directly in the public’s hands. Terbell, a member of Groseta’s pro-consolidation group and a member of the Advisory Committee for Consolidation, met with Yavapai County Schools Superintendent Tim Carter and requested information on the timeline of a potential petition drive to place the Mingus-COCSD issue on the 2018 ballot.

What Terbell received was a consolidation election checklist.

According to Terbell, neither he nor his group are ready to take petitions in hand and solicit the 1,619 signatures needed to take consolidation of the two districts to vote.

“We need very specific petition language,” Terbell said. “I’m still trying to nail down that petition language.”

Change of venue

After holding several meetings at the Mingus Union library, the Advisory Committee for Consolidation will hold its second consecutive meeting in a neutral site, as Wednesday’s meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at the Cottonwood Recreation Center.

Last time the committee met was Jan. 25 – at the Cottonwood Public Safety Building. According to Consolidation Committee Chairperson Dan Mabery, the Jan. 25 meeting “was the best we have had.”

“We didn’t have the vitriol of past meetings and had good discussions about student outcomes, Prop 301 monies and potential competition for Mingus from a charter school,” Mabery said.

Cottonwood-Oak Creek board president and consolidation committee member JoAnne Cook said about the Jan., 25 meeting that the committee “remained focused on the agenda items and had good discussion while treating all members respectfully.”

Though Mingus Union board president and consolidation committee member Anita Glazar said she doesn’t think meeting at a neutral site has “any effect” on the committee, she did say that it’s “good that the committee is continuing.”

“We’re trying to get more facts and data,” Glazar said. “We’re doing a lot of research.”

Within 24 hours of the Feb. 7 meeting of the Advisory Committee for Consolidation, the agenda will be available at the Mingus Union website, https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicHome.aspx?ak=1000989.

The Cottonwood Recreation Center is located at 150 S. 6th St.

Superintendent contract on Mingus Union school board’s Thursday agenda

At 6 p.m. Thursday in the school’s library, the Mingus Union school board will consider ways to “achieve additional efficiencies and financial savings” while consolidation discussions continue.

Also Thursday, the Mingus Union school board could approve a contract with David Bolger to provide feasibility data regarding consolidation. According to the Mingus Union agenda for the Feb. 8 meeting, the cost for contracting with Bolger “falls within the acceptable limits for procurement – less than $10,000.”

Bolger is president of Corporate/Education Consulting, Inc., authors of the 2012 Warner Report

The Mingus Union school board is expected to go into executive session to discuss contract negotiations with District Superintendent Dr. Penny Hargrove.

Once the meeting returns to regular session, the school board may take action regarding a contract with Dr. Hargrove.

The Mingus Union High School District governing board will meet at the school’s library, located at 1801 E. Fir St. in Cottonwood. Call (928) 634-0580 for more information.

The district will post a copy of the agenda no less than 24 hours before the meeting.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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