School districts pan merger plan - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

School districts pan merger plan

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Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 6:22 am | Updated: 3:25 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Initial consolidation proposals created by the Legislature’s redistricting commission have few supporters in Tempe’s three school districts.

In fact, the commission never consulted them on proposed changes, some top school officials say.

“I feel out of the loop on all of this,” said David Schauer, superintendent of the Kyrene Elementary School District. “I hear about these meetings secondhand.”

Tempe Elementary School District Superintendent Arthur Tate said he hasn’t heard from the commission either.

But on Monday, the commission announced its proposals for unifying nonunified school districts in Maricopa County, including Kyrene and Tempe elementary school districts and the Tempe Union High School District.

One of the proposals from the redistricting commission would create two districts out of the three Tempe districts, while the other would unify all three districts into one district of about 44,000 students.

The commission’s plan to create two districts was the most divisive of the proposals presented Monday.

The plan would divide Tempe Union into two kindergarten- through-12thgrade districts with Guadalupe Road as the dividing line. Students who live north of Guadalupe would attend Marcos de Niza, McClintock and Tempe high schools, while those south of Guadalupe would go to Mountain Pointe, Desert Vista and Corona del Sol high schools.

Kyrene school board member Rae Waters said this option would overwhelm the high schools in southern Tempe and Ahwatukee Foothills that are already overcrowded, while leaving smaller school populations such as Tempe High School virtually the same size.

Shirley Miles, superintendent of the Tempe Union High School District, said if the districts have to unify, she’d rather have one large school district.

“To divide (Tempe Union) would be to divide families and students,” Miles said. “I believe that would be detrimental.”

Commission chairman Martin Shultz said the group wants the proposed changes to be as “data-driven” as possible. He added that the “optimum size of a school district is 6,000 to 30,000 students.”

The commission will hold another meeting in November. Until then, school officials from all three school districts plan to organize public meetings and hold special study sessions to review the proposals.

Voters will decide whether or not to make changes to the school districts in November 2008.

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