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8:42 AM Tue, Nov. 20th

Voters will decide fate of technology district

Tim Carter

Tim Carter

PRESCOTT - "It's About Time" is the campaign slogan for the Yavapai County Joint Technology Education District (J-TED).

Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter said the State Board of Education April 28 unanimously approved the J-TED plan. The school boards from the seven school districts that comprise J-TED also unanimously adopted a resolution placing the formation of the technology district on the November General Election ballot.

Voters in each school district must approve a tax to pay for J-TED's operation. The name of the new technology school is Mountain Institute.

Carter said the question on the ballot would be to approve a property tax of $5 per $100,000 of assessed value of residential property.

"This is a statutory assessment amount. It cannot be increased," Carter said.

With the planning phase completed, J-TED supporters are moving into the campaign phase.

Campaign committees are forming in each school district, and the chairperson of each district campaign will serve on the J-TED cabinet.

The campaign committees are in the process of raising money and developing campaign material.

Carter said the key to a successful election is showing people what J-TED is and its advantage to them.

"For parents, students and local businesses, that is not difficult," he said. "For taxpayers without a student or business, we have to show an increased response time in related business areas."

Humboldt School District Governing Board Member Howard Moody is a strong advocate of the technology district.

"Statistics show the drop-out rate is less when these types of classes are available to students," Moody said.

Carter said J-TED would provide an opportunity for school districts to "get involved in learning aspects they've never been involved in before. Educators are seeing that they are not meeting the needs of a 'chuck' of kids, and businesses are also seeing it."

Carter said he was "overwhelmingly surprised by the support the technology district is receiving from people from all walks of life."

While each school district governing board approved calling for the election, some restrictions apply. As with other bond elections, the school boards cannot express or publish their support of the election under the school district's name.

Individual school board members, however, speaking only for themselves can promote the technology district and the election.

"No district money or resources can be used for the election," Carter said.

If voters approve the technology district, Carter will seek recommendations to create a seven-member governing board. The J-TED governing board will determine the central location of the school and its initial curriculum.

Carter said it is possible that the district would have more than one central campus and classes could be offered at various times of the day, including evenings.

Moody said, "All programs, by law, must lead to a certification."

Moody also said that several courses could lead to dual credit with local high schools and Yavapai College.

High school students participating in J-TED would remain enrolled in their home high school. They must meet all graduation requirements, pass the AIMS tests and meet attendance requirements.

In addition to district campaign committees, Carter said the supporters are developing a "speakers bureau to talk to service clubs, church organizations or any group that wants to learn more about J-TED."

Anyone interested in booking a speaker or more information can visit www.mountaininstitute.net.

Contact the reporter at prhoden@prescottaz.com