Record shows West County reps on Governing Board voted down 80% of major recommendations coming from Verde Valley citizens group; left other major issues in hands of Administration with minimal direction
Over the past three years the citizens in the Verde Valley have spoken out about the need for greater development of post-secondary education. They were particularly vocal in voicing their concerns to the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee. Recall that the committee was unceremoniously shuttered during the fading minutes of a a-long Governing Board retreat in September 2016.
During its existence, the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee (VVBAC) made about two dozen specific recommendations for improvement. The District Governing Board formally considered five of them and rejected all but one.
There were also 16 recommendations made to the Governing Board that it never formally considered on an individual basis.
Five recommendations made to Governing Board with all but one voted down by the West County Governing Board representatives 3 – 2:
- VVBAC recommended no tax rate increase in 2015-16. This recommendation was rejected by the District Governing Board 3-2. As a result, the County property tax rate was increased.
- Former representative Al Filardo and then the VVBAC recommended obtaining an independent outside expert to assess the efficacy of creating an Administrative College or other model for operating the Community College in the Verde Valley. This recommendation was ejected by District Governing Board 3-2 (vote was on Filardo’s motion; VVBAC recommendation followed and was ignored).
- The VVBAC recommended no tuition increase. This was rejected by District Governing Board 3-2.
- The VVBAC recommended that the Sedona Center not be closed and sold. This recommendation was approved on a 5 – 0 vote.
- The VVBAC recommended no fees be assed to County high school students receiving College credit in courses taught in County high schools by high school faculty with facilities and administration paid by the high school. This was rejected by the Administration and Governing Board in March 2016.
There also was a general request that the VVBAC, the College Administration, and the Governing Board meet as a group and discuss issues involving the Verde Valley. This was ignored.
16 recommendations Governing Board never took individual action on; left it up to the College to respond in some fashion:
- Allocate a far greater percentage of financial resources generated in the Verde to the Verde.
- Establish effective and efficient local decision-making through a Verde Advocate structure rather than through Prescott.
- Implement an ongoing Verde marketing and recruitment program of continuous and direct interaction with Verde lower and secondary education students and their parents.
- Focus on increasing student numbers in the Verde.
- In the Verde Valley create a CTE building for classes in fields that meet the needs of Verde residents.
- Prioritize building a state of the art delivery system.
- Add sufficient remote learning centers for distance learning opportunities.
- Provide and increase core transfer courses.
- Provide and increase multiple pathways of 2+1, 2+2, Certification, and CTE.
- Increase Verde scholarship and financial assistance and maintain an affordable tuition rate.
- Add focus on working with governments in all Verde communities to increase broadband coverage that can be used by the college.
- Fund all capital projects privately or through bonding rather than taxes, tuition and fees.
- Further incorporate workforce demand analysis in education decision-making. Build stronger local partnerships for business development and job creation.
- Focus on solutions for Verde affordable student housing.
- Encourage the immediate exploration of alternative models or structures to increase Foundation related activities and fund raising in the Verde.
- Recommend revised criteria for evaluating investment needed for new programs as well as criteria for continuing programs.