Split decision
(From left) Tempe Elementary board president Rose Crutcher, Kyrene board president Sue Knudson and Tempe Union board president Zita Johnson discuss unification Wednesday night at a tri-district meeting.

The Tempe Union High School District administration recommended to the governing board Wednesday that, after considerable research and review of the issues related to the proposals for unification, they oppose both the three-into-one and three-into-two plans slated to be placed on the November 2008 ballot. The administration provided three primary reasons for its decision. "We have found no real compelling research for any real information that indicates student achievement will be enhanced as a result of unification," Superintendent Steve Adolph said. "Probably at least as importantly, we have concern that there has been no financial support of many of the proposals and we are about students first. We are also concerned that the timeline being proposed is nothing short of nearly impossible, and in the chance of even meeting that timeline, our students will ultimately be the ones who suffer." The Tempe Union High School District Governing Board drafted a sample response letter to the School District Redistricting Commission's recommendations, but after Wednesday's meeting, has decided to reword it for further discussion on Aug. 22. "There is just one word I cannot go along with and that is 'oppose' both plans," board member Michelle Helm said. "To say I oppose the three-into-one plan is really not my true feeling, but where is the financial support going to come from?" Vice president Mary Lou Taylor also said she does not necessarily oppose the three-into-one plan. "I agree with Michelle when it says I 'oppose' because I don't oppose unification," Taylor said. "What I am concerned about is the money and the time schedule. I have been in correspondence with one legislator who has not answered me yet. But I will be in contact with him again because I think they need to step up and take responsibility and give us some money and some time." Adolph said the board does acknowledge and accept the fact that the redistricting decision will ultimately be decided by the voters. The updated recommendation letter will be discussed again on Aug. 22. The district has until Sept. 15 to submit a formal recommendation. Corinne Frayer can be reached at (480) 898-7917 or cfrayer@aztrib.com.

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