Arizona School Districts to Study Unification, Consolidation

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A joint legislative committee ended its work Monday by recommending that every county school superintendent in Arizona study the feasibility of school-district unification and consolidation in their jurisdiction.

The committee is recommending those studies be started by Sept. 15, 2013, and finished within one year. The study would examine how unification or consolidation would impact taxes, bonds and overrides, estimates of potential savings and efficiencies and preservation of local control.

The committee also recommended the Legislature allocate up to $4.5 million to help the county superintendents conduct the feasibility study and prepare for its implementation.

Unification involves a merger between a high-school and elementary-school district to become a K-12 district. Consolidation involves combinations of only elementary or high-school districts.

The panel set out its proposal in nine recommendations that spelled out a time line for the study, what it should focus on, and how districts or county superintendents should put the plan together.

The recommendations will go now to the Speaker of the House, as mandated by a law passed in June that called for a special committee to examine school unification and consolidation, said state Sen. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, who co-chaired the panel and chairs the Senate Committee on Education.

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