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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news May 25, 2016

7/12/2010 7:06:00 AM
Mingus board wants unification message before the community
Staff training on handling activity money will now be mandatory
Andy Groseta
Andy Groseta
Mingus budget meeting Wednesday
COTTONWOOD - The Mingus Union High School District Governing Board did not approve the proposed budget for 2010-2011 that was submitted during its meeting Thursday night.

The board will hold a special budget meeting Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Also on the agenda is an action item to approve three teachers for special assignment as administration interns. Robert Szmanda, Genna Adams and Jennifer Estes-Chilton would be paid a stipend of $5,000 each to serve as interns performing duties of a principal under Tamara Addis and Allen Mitchell.

Another item is for possible action to approve a new school attorney.

The meeting will be held in the District Office instead of the school cafeteria.

The office is located at 1801 E. Fir St. in Cottonwood.

-Philip Wright

Philip Wright
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD - The Mingus Union High School District is moving forward on the creation of a public information pamphlet explaining the facts of unification.

One step at a time.

Thursday, the Mingus Board met in a work session Thursday to review the proposed wording for the pamphlet. Both MUHS and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school districts must jointly send such a pamphlet to taxpayers in their districts 90 days before the boards can legally vote to unify.

The board members had a proposed pamphlet to review and offer suggestions for changes before the information piece is sent out. Board member Andy Groseta seemed to think the Mingus administration was a little reluctant to accentuate the positive.

Groseta questioned why the term "cost savings" was not included in the pamphlet. He encouraged Superintendent Tim Foist and business manager Kirk Waddle to include the term. He said the $600,000 in savings that Foist has pointed to throughout discussions on unification would be reallocated within the new unified district.

Foist was the one, in fact, who first identified that amount of savings through unification. At nearly every meeting on unification, especially during the early meetings, Foist underlined the savings from eliminating duplication of service that now exists with two administrations.

During a joint meeting of the two boards on unification March 3, Foist said the savings from unification are real dollars. "There are true, true savings," he said.

The three board members in attendance (James Ledbetter and Brenda Zenan were absent) also asked about the savings to taxpayers on their primary real estate rates if unification happens.

Both Foist and Waddle seemed to back away from the idea that taxpayer's rates would decrease. Foist offered an explanation about rates being adjusted due to the poor economy.

Waddle said the tax rate would stay about the same. "We need to calculate that," he said.

But board member Mike Mulcaire questioned Waddle on that statement. Twice, Mulcaire said he remembered that months ago he saw reports that stated the taxpayers would see a reduction in their primary rates.

Mulcaire is right. During a January 19 public forum held by the joint boards on unification, Waddle stated, "The effect of unification on the taxpayers' primary tax rate in the two districts would be a reduction of about 12 percent."

The information pamphlet will take board action before it can be sent out to taxpayers.

In another agenda item for discussion, Waddle updated the board on training on bid procedures and use of student activity funds and auxiliary accounts. Although such training has been offered in the past, it has not been mandatory.

That issue came to light recently when former head wrestling coach Tom Wokasch's attorney told the board that the district had failed to properly inform and instruct Wokash in the proper methods of handling cash from sporting events.

Wokasch has been under investigation for months by the district and the Arizona Auditor General's Office for misappropriation of cash from ticket sales and concession sales at wrestling events.

Waddle told the board that coaches and club sponsors and employees who work in the school's bookstore will have to undergo such training or they will not be approved for payment of their stipend. He said there will be group training on the first day that teachers and coaches return to school. Individual training will be provided for those who miss the group session.

Teachers on special assignment was another work session topic. Foist and principals Tamara Addis and Allen Mitchell asked the board to approve a $5,000 stipend for each of three teachers to be used as interns to perform many of the principals' duties in areas such as discipline and activities.

Foist said he wanted the stipend and internships to go to Robert Szmanda, Genna Adams and Jennifer Estes-Chilton. Foist and Addis both said the internships are a win-win situation that will actually save the district considerable money.

That topic has been scheduled as an action item for a special meeting the board has called for Wednesday, July 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the district office.

Related Stories:
• C-OC pulls plug on unification with MUHS
• Editorial: Administrative overkill at Mingus Union?
• Commentary: Kirk Waddle's comments no help to process of unification
• Editorial: Bold move on unification by school boards
• Unification is on for MUHS and C-OC districts

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 12, 2010
Article comment by: John Wagner

This issue has already gone before the public- several times. Each time the answer was a firm No. What do these boards not understand and why do they persist? No means No.

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