School & District Management

‘Unifying’ Districts Debated in Arizona

By Katie Ash — October 13, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Education politics—and emotions—are heating up in Arizona in advance of a Nov. 4 vote on a plan that would unify 76 elementary and high school districts around the state into 27 K-12 districts.

“Arizona’s public school system is haphazard at best,” said Jay D. Kaprosy, a member of the state’s School District Redistricting Commission and the spokesman for Maricopa County United for Student Success, which supports it.

Currently, some of Arizona’s elementary districts are separate from high school districts. Under the plan, no schools would close, but some district lines would be redrawn to unify elementary and high school districts into combined districts.

The existing system was devised at a time when “students weren’t expected to go to high school,” Mr. Kaprosy said. “It’s about time to fix that system to benefit students and families and taxpayers.”

But several local groups hoping to preserve the state’s school districts as now configured have sprung up in opposition to the plan, which was outlined by the Arizona Department of Education’s 13-member redistricting commission.

They include Preserve Madison, an organization formed to defeat the unification plan in the Phoenix area.

Under the plan, Madison is one of 13 elementary school districts that would be combined with the Phoenix Union High School District to create the largest district in the state, with 120,000 students.

“There is no research that supports the argument that bigger is better,” said Sarah Speer, the chair and spokeswoman for Preserve Madison.

But advocates of the plan say that unifying districts will help cut costs and streamline curriculum.

“We have some districts that have a couple hundred kids or less,” said Art Harding, the deputy associate superintendent for state government affairs for the state education department and a member of the redistricting commission. “In unifying, the goal is to reduce that administrative overhead and get more money into the classroom.”

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Arizona. See data on Arizona’s public school system.

A version of this article appeared in the October 15, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Schools Are Desperate for Substitutes and Getting Creative
Now in the substitute-teacher pool: parents, college students, and the National Guard.
10 min read
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. Many schools have vacant teaching and/or support staff jobs and no available substitutes to cover day-to-day absences.
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School in Las Vegas, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on a Friday in December 2021.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
School & District Management 3 Ways School Districts Can Ease the Pain of Supply Chain Chaos
Have a risk management plan, pay attention to what's happening up the supply chain, and be adaptable when necessary.
3 min read
Cargo Ship - Supply Chain with products such as classroom chairs, milk, paper products, and electronics
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Vulnerable Students, Districts at Greater Risk as Natural Disasters Grow More Frequent
New federal research indicates the harm from fires and storms to school facilities, learning, and mental health is disproportionate.
4 min read
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric intentionally shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP
School & District Management Opinion What It Takes for Universities to Conduct Useful Education Research
Many institutions lack the resources to make research-school partnerships successful, warns Thomas S. Dee.
Thomas S. Dee
3 min read
Illustration of coworkers collaborating.
iStock/Getty