El Capitan (Arizona school)

El Capitan is a public school located in Colorado City, Arizona, serving students in the towns of Colorado City, Centennial Park and Cane Beds in rural Mohave County, and in Hildale, Utah.[2] It is one in two schools in the district

El Capitan
255 North Cottonwood Street


United States
School typePublic school
School districtColorado City Unified School District
EnrollmentHigh school: 124 (October 1, 2012)[1]
Total: 560 (2012-13)[2]
Color(s)Royal blue/black


The Colorado City Unified School District had about 1,200 pupils in 2000, when Warren Jeffs ordered Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints members to pull children out of public schools.[3] After that, the number dwindled to fewer than 250.[4] Most of the remaining students came from the Centennial Park group. He said that it was because the curriculum was offensive to God. Sam Brower, the author of Prophet's Prey, said that the real reason was to extract money from non-believers.[3]

The district had over 100 employees and 18 administrators at the time Jeffs ordered followers out of the school. Almost all of the employees retained their jobs with no pay cuts.[3] Jeffs did not order the fundamentalist church members who made up the majority of the school district's administrators to quit their positions. These administrators bought cars and an aircraft before the district went into bankruptcy.[5] The Arizona state government attempted to take over the district in 2005 due to mismanagement.[6][4][7] The state government appointed an observer as all FLDS members of the Colorado City Board of Education left their posts. The Arizona Department of Education later concluded that the district improved after state intervention.[8]

In 2010, ADE finally lifted its receivership of the district, with all debts paid off.[9] Carol Timpson, the school's then-principal, also pushed for the name of the school to change, from Colorado City Public School to its present name.[9]

Continued efforts by parents and Timpson began to get the school involved in athletics. The school became an associate member of the Arizona Interscholastic Association (it was turned down by the Utah High School Activities Association for the condition of its gymnasium),[9] and its boys basketball program improved to an 18-4 record in 2010. As an associate member, however, it could not qualify for any playoffs. In October 2010, the Colorado City school board voted to make El Capitan a full member of the AIA. Fredonia High School, 33 miles away, allowed El Capitan students to play on its football team, among other programs the small school currently does not have. Schools were eager to schedule the new El Capitan, looking for an easy win. That did not happen: among their wins over Arizona teams was a 115-15 blowout of Fredonia.[9]

The team plays in the school's cafeteria-gym, with poor lighting and bleachers for 100. The school is also looking to start a baseball program, even though it still only has a Little League-sized field.[9]

In 2013, the expanding district bought three buildings, one of which it was already leasing, for $430,000 from a Utah-run community trust that controls $100 million in formerly FLDS-owned homes and property.[2] The buildings will house 225 first- through third-grade students. The growth of the school district is largely attributed to a recovering economy and hundreds leaving the FLDS church.

Student body

During the 2012-2013 school year, the district had 560 students (150 in the high school), up from 475 in the 2011-12 year; none of the students are FLDS Church members.[2]


  1. AIA 2012 enrollment figures Archived October 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Arizona school district purchases polygamy enclave buildings". Associated Press. 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
  3. Brower, Sam. The Prophet's Prey. Bloomsbury USA. First U.S. Edition 2011. ISBN 978-1-60819-275-5. p. 205. "About twelve hundred students were enrolled in public schools back in the year 2000, when Warren Jeffs decided to remove all of the FLDS kids from the district because the curriculum allegedly was an abomination to God. In reality, the move was just another money-making scheme to profit from the gentiles.[...]"
  4. Fischer, Howard. "State officials prepare to seize control of Colorado City school district." The Arizona Star. August 11, 2005. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  5. Kossan, Pat. "Colorado City school district faces bankruptcy." The Arizona Republic. August 12, 2005. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  6. "This is in response to the Republic Editorial of April 19 relating to Colorado City. Archived June 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine" Arizona Department of Education. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  7. "Arizona Wants Control Of Colorado City Schools." KUTV-TV. August 11, 2005. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  8. "New scoreboard delights Colorado City school". Deseret Morning News. March 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  9. Obert, Richard (2011-02-17). "El Capitan's journey to 1A Final Four a story of perseverance". Retrieved 2011-02-18.
  • Brower, Sam. The Prophet's Prey. Bloomsbury USA. First U.S. Edition 2011. ISBN 978-1-60819-275-5.

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