Education A National Roundup

Ariz. Schools Chief Seeks Takeover of Troubled District

By Mary Ann Zehr — August 30, 2005 1 min read

Arizona’s state superintendent of public instruction is seeking a state takeover of the finances of a school district that mainly serves members of a religious community.

A petition that Tom Horne filed on Aug. 12 with the state board of education says officials of the 350-student Colorado City Unified School District have “engaged in a pattern and practice of systemic and egregious mismanagement of district property, materials, supplies, funds, and facilities.” The board could consider the petition 35 days after its filing.

The district serves children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members settled in Colorado City and nearby Hildale, Utah, as polygamous family units decades ago. The Mormon church, which banned polygamy more than a century ago, disavows any connection with the fundamentalist group. (“Pupil Loss Hits District in Arizona,” Nov. 17, 2004.)

Superintendent Alvin Barlow did not return a call for comment.