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1/20/2012 11:17:00 AM
Mingus, Cottonwood-Oak Creek move forward on joint services (with video)
Agree to use outside entities to develop agreements
Video Length 2 Minutes, 5 Seconds MUHS Governing Board President James Ledbetter and Cottonwood-Oak Creek Governing Board President discuss school district shared services.
During a joint meeting of Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary and Mingus Union High School Governing Boards Thursday night, board members and administrators agreed to work on intergovernmental agreements that could lead to sharing services between the two districts. Shown during discussions are Kirk Waddle, (left) Tim Foist, David Snyder and Barbara U�Ren. (VVN/Jon Pelletier)
During a joint meeting of Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary and Mingus Union High School Governing Boards Thursday night, board members and administrators agreed to work on intergovernmental agreements that could lead to sharing services between the two districts. Shown during discussions are Kirk Waddle, (left) Tim Foist, David Snyder and Barbara U�Ren. (VVN/Jon Pelletier)
A joint school board meeting between Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary and Mingus Union High School districts Thursday night made progress toward the districts entering into cost and service sharing intergovernmental agreements. (VVN/Jon Pelletier)
A joint school board meeting between Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary and Mingus Union High School districts Thursday night made progress toward the districts entering into cost and service sharing intergovernmental agreements. (VVN/Jon Pelletier)

Philip Wright
Staff Reporter


COTTONWOOD - The governing boards of the Mingus Union and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school districts moved forward on several fronts Thursday night toward intergovernmental agreements for joint services.

Both boards voted to go into separate executive sessions to begin the meeting. Following the closed sessions, the boards took up the matter of contracting with an outside agency to study joint services and shared employment as well as conduct a review of shared administrative contracts.

James Ledbetter, Mingus board president, explained that Randy Garrison, C-OC board president, had talked with Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter about help selecting and paying for an outside source to conduct the review. After discussion, the MUHS board unanimously passed a motion to approve using Carter's office in that capacity.

Part of that motion calls for the districts to meet again to go over a short list and select which agency will be used.

"I'd say we select independently, and hopefully we make the same selection," said C-OC board member Jason Finger.

MUHS Superintendent Tim Foist told the boards that the Mingus board meets next on Feb. 9. "We can have that on the Feb. 9 agenda," he said.

The C-OC board then passed the same motion and included making a selection from Carter's short list for its next meeting on Feb. 14.

The next agenda item was to direct Mingus Superintendent Tim Foist and C-OC Superintendent Barbara U'Ren to write a draft IGA on joint facilities management and another for additional joint services on transportation.

"The districts would enter into an IGA to pay for shared services," Ledbetter said.

Foist asked the boards for two months for the superintendents to develop the draft IGA. He also asked the boards to authorize using Arcadis, a consulting company, in the development of the draft IGA.

Arcadis is a company that provides consultancy, design, engineering and management services for infrastructure, water, environment and buildings.

The districts would use Arcadis to take a look at what the cost per square foot would be for maintenance of all the campuses involved in a joint services IGA between the district.

"It's not tied to a future contract," Foist said.

MUHS board member Mike Mulcaire asked why two outside studies are necessary.

Ledbetter explained that the study hired through Carter's office will take longer and be in more detail. But the work done by Arcadis on square footage maintenance would be done sooner. He said the districts could begin work on the Arcadis study before the other study was finished.

Garrison added that the focus of the Arcadis study would be entirely on facilities management.

The two boards approved Foist's request for two months and authorized using Arcadis to develop a draft IGA for joint facilities management.

An agenda item was tabled until after the study hired through Carter's office is completed. That item was discussion and possible action for development of a joint/shared district office and a timeline to accomplish it all.

Another item for discussion of contracting with the existing superintendents also was tabled pending the outside study through Carter's office.

Related Stories:
• High school, C-OC to share special education director and IEP specialist
• Editorial: Schools’ shared services plan off to good start
• Editorial: Shared services proposal needs to stay in school board arena


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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: Don't lose what really the big picture is in Unification and shared services!

Let's not get into a Uren VS Foist competition, let's do what's right for the students, and the the taxpayer's, then decide who would be right to lead this new district. Open up the new superintendents position, and let Foist/Uren reapply for the position as well as anyone one else that is qualified and interested, then pick the best candidate.

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Article comment by: GEORGIA JOBE

We as tax payers, parents and grandparents need to show up at the board meetings to get some of our questions answered. Talk to our board members to find answers to our questions.

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Article comment by: Best alternative to unification

Lori Simmons has it right. Unification isn't the best idea because it forces Clarkdale-Jerome to lose their independence. No one wants that.

But we can achieve nearly the same thing with this shared services idea. I agree this is the time to rethink how both districts are administered, and do some serious housecleaning.

Good luck to both boards.


Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Article comment by: Georgia JOBE

This should have been done years ago. As I understand it we are already in the "Sharing" process in the custodian department. So why are we paying someone to do the job? Both MUHS and COCSD need to clean their houses in the administration department. Let's put the money in the classrooms!

Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Article comment by: John Doe

Sheree Townsend, you have it backwards. Mingus Teachers make on average $10,000 more than the COCSD teachers.

Posted: Monday, January 23, 2012
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Howmuch money willit save the taxpayers?

Posted: Sunday, January 22, 2012
Article comment by: Sheree Townsend

Sounds OK. But I'm sure Mingus teachers don't are not thrilled with the idea of being paid 10,000 less than their comrades over at COCSD. Hey why is that anyway? These public schools get the same funding per pupil, they should get paid the same. What's up with that? Bloated admin perhaps? Anyone know?

Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2012
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Spend money to figure out if it's
plausable? What if it's not feasable and how
much money will be saved anually above and
beyond the costs involved to explore this issue.
Wrap the whole city in one session instead of one every couple of years at more costs
Insurance,rising fuel cost,energy costs,Etc Etc


Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Henry

Have the people voted yes to the process that
allows "joint deals"???

And have the education cost and taxes gone
down after every joint deal that is/has been put
in place???

Keep up the good work.


Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2012
Article comment by: Lori Simmons

As a taxpayer, and a parent with students in both districts, I applaud both boards and superintendents for exploring shared services. While our communities have often voted down Unification, most would agreed that cost savings, to allow more money into our classrooms, is very desireable. Discussions regarding curriculum appear to have improved between the districts over the last few years, which is yet another step toward shared services. The more information, knowledge, and cost savings that can be shared between districts will end up helping every one of our students. Kudos to the boards. Lets keep the discussions positive, focused on the students, and moving forward!

Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012
Article comment by: Lu Parker

Put the districts together. No studies needed. For that matter, put all of the Verde Valley public schools under one transpo contract, one teacher contract, shared admin and save us a ton of money and stop the animosity.

Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012
Article comment by: GEORGIA JOBE

Why the rush?



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