Unification Unapproved - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Education

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Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2007 11:00 pm

The Kyrene School District Governing Board finalized a response letter to the School District Redistricting Commission Tuesday, recommending not to forward a unification plan for its school district to Gov. Janet Napolitano for placement on the November 2008 ballot. The letter states that the goals of the SDRC are already valued and pursued by Kyrene, and they are committed to partnering with Tempe Union and Tempe Elementary to align curriculum, ease transitions and make the best possible use of resources. The board will attach two redistricting position statements to the letter, one for the three-into-one plan and another for the three-into-two plan, both proposed by the SDRC. Among the board's concerns were a number of financial issues, including the unfunded $8 million cost of aligning salary schedules, and the unrealistic time frame allocation of just seven months for the new district to be operational. "The position of our school district is we continue to strive to always put more dollars in the classroom," Kyrene School District Governing Board president Sue Knudson said. After perfecting punctuation and minor rewording, the board will submit its recommendation letter to the SDRC before the Sept. 15 deadline. However, there is a concern that the opinion will not be adequately heard by the public. "Generally when we have an election, we call the election, and that is the point at which chitchatting about it is over with," Knudson said. "This is a very different situation. We will have to come up with appropriate ways to communicate this." "I think it's important for people to know that once we approve of this tonight, it is part of open record and part of the minutes of the meeting," board member Mitzi Epstein said. "If anyone wants this information they have an equal chance because it is part of open record." The decision on whether the document will be posted on the Kyrene School District Web site remains unmade, until legal advice is sought. The board does remain determined to get its message heard, and will send the document to each of the commissioners and legislators individually. "We are going to send a copy to each of the commissioners and also our legislators so they know that we are the elected officials and they know that our position is ultimately about redistricting," Knudson said. Corinne Frayer can be reached at (480) 898-7917 or cfrayer@aztrib.com.

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