November 2, 2004
With most precincts reporting, voters in the Gilbert and Higley unified school districts were leaning against consolidating.
Both districts needed to vote “yes” in order for the merger to pass.
A consolidated district would have been the first in decades involving East Valley schools.
Higley’s three board members have been outspoken against the initiative. They went as far as to file a lawsuit in September contesting how the measure was placed on the ballot in Higley.
The proposed consolidation had been less contested in Gilbert, although the initiative lost steam when its biggest proponent, Sheldon Jones, left the district in August to pursue employment in Colorado.
A combined district stood to receive about $30 million in state funding over three years to offset the costs of combining.
Both districts held various forums that were well-attended by residents who wanted to learn as much as possible about what a combined district would look like.
Many attendants said they didn’t find the answers they sought.
Higley board member Ed Moore said people voted against the measure because there wasn’t enough research done by either side for anyone to make an educated decision.
“If a board of directors brought something like this in front of their stockholders, they would be fired,” he said.