Following several discussions among Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District Governing Board members about consolidating COCSD, Mingus Union High School District and Clarkdale-Jerome School District, Clarkdale-Jerome tabled the idea, which has been a perennial topic of discussion for years.
COCSD began the discussion in March and recently invited MUHSD and CJSD to consider the option.
Most eighth-grade students who matriculate from COCSD and CJSD attend Mingus Union High School.
On Tuesday, May 9, the CJSD Governing Board voted unanimously not to consider consolidation with COCSD and MUHSD. According to CJSD Governing Board President Jill Zaske, the decision came after a careful review of the ways in which consolidation would impact student achievement, funding and staff remuneration in her district.
“The size of our district makes it unique regarding funding available for small school districts,” Zaske stated via press release. “CJSD would lose over $487,000 annually in federal funds only available to small school districts.”
Zaske added that her board had reviewed the Arizona Auditor General’s report published each year and found that CJSD has the highest teacher salaries, the most money spent in classrooms and the lowest administration costs of any district in the Verde Valley.
“CJSD students have consistently scored higher on Arizona state assessments than our neighboring districts,” Zaske stated. “The board discussed the need for further improvement, but did not feel unification would in any way help with the academic success of our students.”
Zaske expressed her support for continuing to collaborate with neighboring districts and share resources and services where beneficial.