Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild is one of a group of mayors from around the state who have formed a partnership to research education issues, share ideas and develop programs to help Arizona students.

The Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable will work with school districts, colleges, nonprofit organizations and others to promote literacy and education initiatives, Rothschild said.

Examples of potential efforts include expanded after-school programs and six-week summer school.

The mayors enlisted the help of WestEd, an education-research and development company, and the Helios Education Foundation, which will provide money for the research.

Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath and Sahuarita Mayor Duane Blumberg joined Rothschild at a news conference Tuesday to announce the launch of the new group.

The roundtable has two key principles: to support local initiatives and expand "learning networks" for Arizona mayors, Rothschild said.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is also among the 10 mayors, from both political parties, on the roundtable group. The other mayors are from the Phoenix-area cities and Miami, Ariz.

The group plans to invite other mayors to join in the upcoming year.

The Helios Education Foundation provided the group a $250,000 grant, and it will be used to pay WestEd to conduct research on education issues and programs.

The philanthropic Helios endowment, established in 2004, grew out of the sale of Southwest Student Services Corporation, an originator of federal student loans.

John Pedicone, superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District, said the mayoral collaboration was remarkable.

"The mayors have a really special influence, especially when they get together from around the state," Pedicone said.

Contact reporter Jamar Younger at jyounger@azstarnet.com or 573-4115.