Redistricting panel to discuss Tempe schools - East Valley Tribune: Tempe

Redistricting panel to discuss Tempe schools

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Posted: Sunday, October 15, 2006 7:04 am | Updated: 3:38 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Tempe’s three school districts will finally get a glimpse Monday of consolidation proposals created by the state Legislature’s redistricting commission. The commission is charged with coming up with proposals to unify school districts such as the Tempe Elementary, Kyrene Elementary and Tempe Union High School districts.

Final proposals will be placed on the ballot for voters to decide in 2008.

Board members and school officials say they are anxious to hear the commission’s suggestions.

“It’s fine to have the discussion (of unification),” said Jim Lemmon, a Tempe Elementary board member. “We ought to have it because it is beneficial to kids, families and taxpayers.”

Lemmon said he’s more concerned about the commission wanting to combine the districts just to have one big school district.

“I haven’t seen any evidence . . . that large districts over 15,000 or 20,000 (students) provide a superior education outcome for kids or a better value for taxpayers,” Lemmon said.

If combined, about 44,000 students would be in the district, said Tempe Elementary Superintendent Arthur Tate.

Tate said he’s interested to find out what research the commission has been considering before deciding what to do with Tempe’s three districts, which also include parts of Ahwatukee Foothills, Guadalupe, Chandler and the Gila River Indian Community.

“I’m open to anything that proves to be better for student achievement,” Tate said.

Kyrene board member Sue Knudson said even if the commission comes up with a plan, it’s unlikely it will pass with voters in her area.

“Historically, Kyrene people haven’t been hip on unification,” Knudson said. “There are no guarantees (unifying) is going to be better than what we have now.”

If you go

What: School District Redistricting Commission meeting

When: 2 p.m. Monday

Where: Arizona State University Decision Theater at the Orchid House, 21 E. 6th Street, Suite 126

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