DISTRICTS UNIFIED AGAINST CONSOLIDATION
August 17, 2007
The (Phoenix, AZ)
Author: Georgann Yara, Special for The Republic Estimated printed pages: 2
The Tempe Elementary School District joined its sister districts Wednesday in
opposing two plans offered by the state School District Redistricting
After an hourlong study session, board members favored the status quo over
combining with the Tempe Union and Kyrene school districts to make one large
district, or whittling the three districts into two using Guadalupe Road as the
Tempe Elementary board members have drafted their response to the commission and
will vote on an official revised version Sept. 5.
School districts must submit their responses to the commission by Sept. 15.
Superintendent Arthur Tate and board members believe that the current
configuration would best serve Tempe Elementary's diverse student body, 25
percent of whom are English language learners and 65 percent of whom qualify for
free and reduced lunch, said spokeswoman Monica Allread.
"Research supports that students that face these challenges achieve better in
smaller school districts," she said.
The three school districts that serve Tempe stand unified in opposition against
the two proposals, which have been criticized for resulting in a district or
districts that are too large, the uncertainty of what would happen to
specialized programs and potential expenses that the districts cannot afford.
Tempe Union board members are expected to vote on their official response next
week. Board President Zita Johnson said that although some board members
supported the philosophy of unification in a study session last week, they did
not agree with short timeline given to restructure and the lack of financial
support for either plan.
Johnson said that these obstacles would be a detriment and a disruption to
After much research and analysis, Kyrene board members approved their response
to the commission on Tuesday.
It requests that no plan be forwarded to Gov. Janet Napolitano. Board President
Sue Knudson said neither proposal was possible without taking funding away from
classrooms and programs.
"In the end, we just couldn't support either plan," she said.
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Tempe Republic