It’s still undecided whether a new school district in the north East Valley will have schools, but it will at least have a governing board shortly after the new year begins.
The Maricopa County Superintendent’s Office will accept résumés from people interested in being on the first board for the new school district, which will encompass the Troon and Rio Verde areas, from Jan. 2-16, said Regina Perez, human resources specialist for the office.
Currently, Troon and Rio Verde don’t belong to a district. State law required such areas to vote in November to either form a school district or join an existing one.
Troon and Rio Verde voters elected to start a new district rather than join the Cave Creek Unified School District. The new district becomes official July 1.
It’s up to the Maricopa County Schools Superintendent’s Office to pick the first school board for the new district. Once applications are received, it will probably take two to four weeks to interview candidates and pick board members, Perez said.
The governing board will then hire a superintendent, she said.
Surrounding districts of Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Fountain Hills have been waiting on that selection so they can figure out what kind of relationship they’ll have with the new district. Those districts have been operating under the assumption that the new district would not have schools, and instead pay the districts to enroll students, said Kent Frison, assistant superintendent of operations and finance for Cave Creek.
There is an unlikely possibility the new district would decide to build its own schools, but there’s no way to know how the district will actually take shape until a governing board and superintendent have been chosen.
“We really can’t do anything because we have no official person or group or organization with which to communicate,” Frison said.
Troon and Rio Verde already have about 434 students enrolled in surrounding districts, according to the county school superintendent’s office. Since those students currently don’t live in a district, the districts they attend usually pay for transportation and receive money to educate those students directly from the state.
But once those students become part of a new district without schools, state law treats them a bit differently. The new district would be required to cover transportation costs, which could mean either paying the receiving districts to bus students or contracting for transportation, Frison said.