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Tuolumne County School Unification Movement

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A Tuolumne County School Unification group is hoping to go much further than just merge services between the Summerville and Sonora High School Districts.

TuCCURE member Domenic Torchia was Friday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.

Tuolumne County currently has 11 school districts and eight Superintendents. Their individual salaries (as reported in 2013), range from $100,020 – $207,288.

The Tuolumne County Committee for the Unification of Resources for Education (TuCCURE) is proposing that all of the schools, including elementary campuses be placed under a single superintendent, and a single school board. The school board would have ten seats (two from each Supervisorial District). There would be elections every two years, and five seats would be on the ballot each time. The individual schools would remain open, but share administrative services. Each school would still have a principal to run the day-to-day operations.

The group needs to collect signatures from at least 25% of the voters in each individual school district to qualify as a ballot measure in 2016. Before actually getting on the ballot, there would also be hearings in the individual school districts, and the measure would need to be approved by the California State Board of Education.

“We still have a long process to go through, but hopefully we will be prepared to go to those hearings and present a legitimate case,” adds Torchia. “But I think with 25% of the registered voters signing the petition, if we get that far, I think it will speak volumes.”

Torchia explains just one challenge that his group is facing, “For example, the Sonora High School District would be 22,400 voters of which 25% would be 5,600 signatures needed. And that’s just one out of 11 districts that we need to get.”

The total number needed to get the petition on the November 2016 ballot is 15,000. Torchia is confident that they will reach that goal.

The group was hoping to have Tuolumne County school unification on this year’s ballot, but that was delayed due in part to valid signatures that still need to be collected and also based on exactly when required hearings can be scheduled.

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45am.