School boards begin unification work

When the Kingman Elementary School District and Mohave Union High School District officially merge on July 1, 2001, the new district will be known as the Kingman Unified School District.

That decision was made Tuesday night during a joint meeting of the two district governing boards.

"We're going to look at how to realign services in the two district offices," MUHSD Superintendent Mike Ford said.

"We'll decide what configuration will work best in the unified district, but we don't anticipate any reduction in staff.

We'll need all the people we have to make this happen."

Ford and KESD Superintendent Betsy Parker were appointed as the administrative team to examine realignment of jobs and personnel.

Ford said he expects to report progress to the joint board by December.

"The central office staff is the easiest to move because it does not disrupt the education process," Parker said.

"It would be good to have personnel from both offices working together before July 1 and that way we could post for positions come March and April and do it from one building instead of two."

The new unified district will do its own payroll as the KESD does now, Parker said.

MUHSD, however, has its payroll done by the office of county school superintendent Mike File.

KESD personnel could show MUHSD personnel how to compile payroll as one advantage to centralizing the office staff, she said.

Officers for the unified board also were elected.

Pat Carlin Jr.

and Carolyn Stewart, both from the elementary district, will serve as president and clerk, respectively.

Agendas similar to those used now in both districts will be prepared for each meeting.

Those agendas will contain numbered items with an indication on the right side whether an item is for action or discussion.

The two boards agreed to hold a joint unification meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

in the elementary district office board room.

A help-wanted posting for the job of superintendent for the unified board is planned Friday at locations throughout both districts in an effort to find someone already within the two districts.

The joint board can initiate a search outside later if no suitable candidates apply.

Ford said he plans to apply for the position and that the members of the joint board hope to name a superintendent at the Sept.

26 meeting.

Parker said she does not intend to apply for the superintendent's position.

"I love the elementary district, but it's just not the right time for me to apply," Parker said.

In other matters, KESD business manager Barlow Quinton will look for an accounting firm to develop a plan as a preliminary step to the unified district assuming accounting responsibility.

He will also apply to the Arizona Department of Revenue for a district taxpayer identification number.

Ford said the districts will divide the cost for the accounting firm services.

"I'll look for an audit firm to develop the plan," Quinton said.

"The ballpark figure I have for the cost is $7,000 to $8,000, and I'll seek quotes from two or three firms."

A request also is to be made by week's end to the auditor general for an evaluation as part of the application process for the new unified district to assume accounting responsibility, Ford said.

The Arizona School Boards Association also will be contacted and asked to compile one policy manual for the unified district.

But the ASBA has a full schedule and probably will not be able to do it until January, Ford said.

"It will take them three or four days to go through everything from both districts and find differences we must deal with," he said.

"We'll pay them a per diem cost whether we go down to Phoenix or they send people up here, but it probably will come to less than $1,000."