What’s in a name? Should consolidation occur, one of first tasks for school board will be to give new district a name

Tim Carter

Tim Carter

COTTONWOOD – Should it be that the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts consolidate into one district, what would that new district be called? And who would name it?

The governing board of the new unified school district would have the “sole ability to create a name for the new district,” said Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter.

Coming up with the right name for a new school district would likely be “a challenging decision for any new board,” said Mingus Union High School District Superintendent Penny Hargrove.

Though Hargrove is “not going to speculate what the outcome might be,” she also said that she “imagine[s] the new board would allow the community to provide suggestions.”

If it were up to District 3 Yavapai County Supervisor Randy Garrison, the former Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek School Board member, he would name it the “Verde Valley Unified School District.”

Though the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School Board voted in support of consolidation in December, board member Jason Finger admitted that he has “not been thinking of a name in particular.”

“However, I think that the name should be reflective of the community and not necessarily the parts that it had come from,” Finger said. “Start with something fresh that does not link to the old districts.”

According to Carter a “portion of the information pamphlet” will address the naming of the new unified district and the assignment of a district number, “if the election is successful.”

The new board is under no obligation “to incorporate previous or former names into the new name,” but Carter said that the board is “free to do that if they wish.”

If Tricia Winters had her say-so, the Cottonwood-Oak Creek executive assistant to Superintendent Steve King, she would “let the kids name it.”

Lozano will continue on Mingus school board if districts consolidate

Should voters support the consolidation – unification – of the Mingus Union and the Cottonwood Oak Creek school districts, Clarkdale resident and Mingus Union School Board member Anthony Lozano would retain his position on the Mingus Union board and be part of the newly merged district’s 10-member board, Carter said.

Based on Arizona Revised Statute 15-430, titled “Governing board members of newly consolidated district; election of members,” and as Carter said “based upon the above language in the statute, and in the opinion of the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office, which I will follow, Anthony Lozano will continue to serve as a governing board member of the unified school district, limited to the maintenance and operation of the previously existing school districts and compliance with the consolidation and unification plan, until Jan. 1 after the November 2019 election, at which time a new five-member board will take office, in compliance with ARS 15-427.

This information is pertinent to the election, in part, because the Clarkdale-Jerome School District is not taking part in the possible consolidation of the Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek. Lozano lives in the Clarkdale-Jerome School District, which currently is included within the boundaries of the Mingus district.

Carter also said that the above information will appear in the information pamphlet.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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