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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 15, 2014

1/18/2013 9:56:00 PM
New council will advocate for Ariz. community colleges' needs
Courtesy photoYavapai College President Dr. Penny Wills will be the Yavapai County community college district representative on the new Arizona Community College Coordinating Council.
Courtesy photo

Yavapai College President Dr. Penny Wills will be the Yavapai County community college district representative on the new Arizona Community College Coordinating Council.

Lisa Irish
The Daily Courier

Yavapai College President Dr. Penny Wills said a new council of statewide community college leaders will work closely with Arizona state legislators to make sure they understand community colleges' funding needs, and rural as well as urban districts' concerns.

Wills will be the Yavapai County community college district representative on the new Arizona Community College Coordinating Council, which recently filed its articles of incorporation.

"This is happening at an important time," Wills said. "We need a unified community college voice to be heard when the Legislature makes decisions."

In the 1980s, community colleges in Arizona received about 25 percent of their funding from the state, but over time that amount sharply dropped due to cuts to deal with state budget shortfalls.

"Yavapai College now receives about 1-1/2 percent of our funding through the state," Wills said.

The Arizona Community College Coordinating Council will soon seek a Phoenix-based executive director with community college administration experience to meet with legislators and be a resource for media and other educators, Wills said.

A previous organization, the Arizona Community Colleges President's Council, represented the 10 community college districts' concerns, but did not have a constant presence in Phoenix to collaborate on proposed legislation or a strong unified voice, Wills said.

"Community colleges are so different from what they were just 10 years ago," Wills said. "We need someone with recent experience who knows how much we've grown from providing vocational and general education to becoming a partner in local economic development."

Community colleges fill a critical need by partnering with local businesses to create courses, certificate programs, and associate's degrees to provide a trained workforce, Wills said.

Arizona recent 1-cent sales tax initiative is an example of how community colleges fall through the cracks, according to Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Rufus Glasper. Legislators included university and K-12 schools among groups to benefit from Proposition 204 (which voters defeated in November), but community colleges were not slated to be among the beneficiaries,

Currently, a lobbyist meets with legislators about Arizona community colleges' interests, but that lobbyist also has other clients, while the executive director of the new group will be someone who knows community colleges' needs and focuses on that, Wills said.

About $300,000 will fund the new group, with each community college district paying a percentage based on its full-time student equivalent. Maricopa Community College will pays the most at about $176,000, while the Yavapai Community College District will pay about $8,000 Wills said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Article comment by: Wow are these comments IGNORANT

You people want some cheese with your WHINE? For those of us that know and use YC, we are lucky for the support this college has received. In tough economic times, education is the answer to better jobs, smarter communities, and economic growth. Quit whining about what they take and consider WHAT THEY GIVE. And maybe go educate your high school drop out but.

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: Matriarch In Training

@Keep Training,
I am well aware of how the election process works. However, being relatively new to the area, I was unhappy to note that the YCCC board can arbitrarily raise our property taxes whenever they wish (and, no, I am not from California). Seems like the foxes are in charge of the chicken coop. I don't believe I mentioned anything negative about those working for a college education, either. I am in sympathy with those who struggle to pay tuition, et al, having family members who are making payments on student loans. I don't believe I deserve your snarky comments.

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Edmiston

For all those who are complaining about high taxation from YCC, I suggest that you do something about it.
Why not attend the regularly scheduled YCC Board of Governors Meetings and watch this year's budget plans unfold. Learn more about how your hard earned money is spent and speak up .

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: Well ...............

We pay an extreme amount of tax for a tuition based school. The first step is to tax them out of the "being able to at random" tax loop. This will put them in a position to create sound budgets and not spend useless dollars on satellite campuses when they offer just about everything online which means they could close those unneeded operating costs. Maybe YC doesn't offer business economic classes ? There needs to be a check and balance system implemented here.

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Keep Training....

@ "Matriarch" -
Um, it's called voting. You vote for your representative, who then goes to the state legislature in Phoenix and passes an appropriations bill that funds the community colleges. That's how things work in a representative democracy. If you don't like what your representative has to "say" on the issues, run for the elected office yourself or vote for someone else. I know that sounds harder than sitting on your rump in front of a computer to complain about those working for a college education, but I'm sure that irony is lost on you.

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Matriarch In Training

@Tax Sucking Vampires - I completely agree. What do we tax payers have to do to get some say in the CC budget?

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Tax Sucking Vampires

They get to set their own tax rates for us and they never say no to the chance to raise them.
They should receive no tax help or any state funding.

If you want a college education get loans, works, pay your own way. Stop mooching off every home owner for your handout.

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