Author Archive for R. Oliphant

GOVERNING BOARD ELIMINATES MONTHLY MEETINGS IN JUNE, JULY, AUGUST–TRAVEL TOO MUCH

College accountability shrinks as information to taxpayers narrows; Wills in full agreement with elimination of public meetings

The Yavapai Community College Governing Board voted 4-1 (McCasland “no”) to  eliminate monthly meetings in June, July, and August of each year. (A June meeting could be called if the budget was not approved in May.) The result is that the sparse information now flowing from the College to County taxpayers is reduced even more.

Chair Sigafoos suggested three reasons for eliminating the monthly meetings. One involved the amount of time to drive from Prescott to the East side of the County.  A second involved a statement that he would like “to have the meetings have more content that is meaningful.”  He said “we hear reports that are nice but let’s try and do something with the content of the meeting.” A third suggestion was that staff weren’t around much during those months.

President Wills had been contacted by Sigafoos before the meeting and said at the meeting that she was in total agreement with the idea of eliminating 25% of the yearly public meetings.  

From the Blog’s perspective, the Board and College are increasingly developing a closed-door process that keeps from the County owner-taxpayers’ view most of the College’s operation.  This decision fits like a glove and strikes at the very heart of government accountability by publicly supported institutions. 

Deb McCasland dissented indicating her concern about taxpayers having more knowledge and providing the Board with more stakeholder input. She is the only Board member who consistently raises the interests of the stakeholders who are the citizens residing in the County and who pay the property taxes to support the Community College.

You may view the highlights of the discussion in the video below. You may also view the entire video by going to the Agenda for September 2017  Click here to see Meeting Videos and follow instructions.

THE VERDE CAMPUS WINERY TASTING ROOM’S REVENUE EXCEEDED FORECASTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BY MORE THAN 30%.

Brings in $98,862 in sales on $75,000 budget

Yavapai Community College reported to the Governing Board in August 2017 that the Verde campus winery tasting room had brought in $92,862 for the fiscal year 2016 – 2017. The revenue exceeded the 2016-2017 budget by $25,000. The College did not indicate how it will use the excess revenue generated by the tasting room.

You may view the fiscal year 2016 – 2017 report in the Community College Governing Board agenda for August 2017 by clicking here. 

COLLEGE VINEYARD YIELDS OVER 12 TONS GRAPES

Harvest appears very good

Yavapai Community College announced this week that it will harvest over 12 tons of grapes this fall from its Verde Campus vineyard. The harvest appears to be very good.

The wine Center has announced a number of events for this fall one of which, Sunset Yoga with Roxanne,  is listed below. The public is invited to join in any of its fall events.

MC CASLAND HEARING DISABILITY COMPLAINT SECOND SINCE FEBRUARY

Hearing disabilities advocate Jack Clevenger asked the Governing Board to look into the hearing disabilities issue (captioning) at the Performing Arts Center eight months ago, yet there has been no public response from the Board to his concern

Deb McCasland’s complaint that she couldn’t hear the comments of the Governing Board because of her hearing disability at the September 11 retreat is not the first time in the last few months that a hearing disabilities complaint has been brought to the attention of the Board.  (See McCasland story below.)

Disabilities Advocate Jack Clevenger told the Board at its February 2017 meeting that the Americans for Disability Act requires improved (or possibly new) facilities be installed at the Performing Arts Center for the hearing impaired. From his perspective, the current hearing disability facilities provided at the PAC were not adequate because of a lack of captioning. He noted that the 11,000 residents of Prescott with hearing impairment might begin considering attending concerts and other events if the Center fully complied with ADA.

In response to Mr. Clevenger’s comments about the hearing disability issue at the PAC, the Board said nothing.  It was silent and has not placed the issue on any Board Agenda after eight months. Furthermore, the Blog cannot recall the College President responding in her subsequent monthly reports to the Board about any changes at the PAC.  Consequently, Yavapai County citizens have no way of knowing whether the PAC issue was addressed or ignored.

Query:  Is the College in violation of the ADA?  Why isn’t the College more receptive to persons with hearing disabilities like Jack Clevenger and Deb McCasland?

The Blog believes that President Penelope Wills should specifically address those concerns on the record at a Board meeting and assure the public that the College is responding to these important issues.  

You may view Mr. Clevenger’s three- minute presentation below.

GOVERNING BOARD INSENSITIVE TO MCCASLAND HEARING DISABILITY REQUEST THAT WAS MADE AT PRIOR BOARD MEETING

Board holds eight hour retreat without providing adequate sound for member suffering from serious hearing disability

The Yavapai Community College Governing Board showed insensitivity to fellow Board member Deb McCasland’s hearing disability while running an eight hour retreat off campus on September 16 at the Hassayampa Inn. McCasland, who the Board knows suffers from a serious hearing disability, was unable to hear Board members during the retreat because the Board/College failed to provide microphones for the members.

At the Governing Board meeting held one-day following the retreat, September 17 2017,  Community College President  Penelope Wills indicated that had she known before the retreat about McCasland’s issue with the sound system  that something would have been done to accommodate her. McCasland replied that she had specifically made the need for a speaker system  known at the prior Governing Board meeting (Wills was present).

Wills then apologized.

You may view the brief exchange between McCasland, Wills and Board Chair Sigafoos on the video below.

NINE SENIORS FROM MINGUS UNION HIGH SCHOOL AWARDED YAVAPAI COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIPS CREATED FROM FUND ESTABLISHED IN 2007 BY VERDE VALLEY RESIDENT

67 students applied for “ED NOW” assistance fund created by the late Verde Valley resident Dr. Jay Fleishman in honor of his parents; 18 from Mingus

The Blog has learned that 9 seniors from Mingus Union High School received scholarships from Yavapai Community College Foundation in 2017.   They were selected from 67 students who applied for an EDUCATION NOW scholarship. The College reports on its website that “Education Now! Fund scholarships are strictly for Yavapai County high school students with a demonstrated financial need and an interest in any of YC’s dozens of degree and certificate programs.”

Dr. Jay Fleishman

The College also reported that “since its inception in 2007, the Yavapai College Education Now Scholarship Fund has helped 30 Yavapai County high school students avoid financial roadblocks on the road to and through college” (through 2016).  Click here to learn more about the Education Now scholarship fund.  

 The Education Now fund with a focus on Yavapai County students was endowed in 2007 by the Blanch T. and Maurice Fleishman Foundation.  The Foundation was created by Verde Valley resident Dr. Jay S. Fleishman, who died in 2010. Donations in Dr. Fleishman’s  memory are made to the Maurice and Blanche Fleishman Foundation c/o Diane Prescott, 551 So. Main St., Cottonwood, AZ 86326 or to the Yavapai Community College Foundation in Prescott.

This list for 2017 provided to the Blog included the following students:

Damian Huff

Carter Scott

Morgan Tignini

Shawn Mayo

Falbo Haili

Rachel Madara-Yagla (LEAD participant)

Sara Hernandez (LEAD participant)

Rachel Gibbons (LEAD participant)

Amanda Easter (LEAD participant)

Congratulations to all of the scholarship recipients.

GOVERNING BOARD IGNORES YAVAPAI-APACHE NATION REQUEST FOR CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE & EXCHANGE OF IDEAS

No action seven months after request to Governing Board that it begin a constructive dialogue and exchange of ideas with the Nation

On March 7, 2017, the Yavapai-Apache Nation appeared before the Yavapai College District Governing Board and orally requested that it begin a constructive dialogue and exchange of ideas with the Nation about the plans and objectives of Yavapai College and the extent to which these plans and objectives include meeting the growing needs of our Verde Valley communities. The nation explained that:

“We believe this matter is of the utmost urgency because the capital investment program of the College, as approved by the Board, is moving ahead without a proper level of consideration for the needs of Verde Valley communities, including those of the Yavapai-Apache Nation.”

Despite the urgent nature of the request from the Nation, the Governing Board has not held a single meeting with the Nation in seven months. Based on interviews with officials of the Nation, it can only be concluded that it has been almost totally ignored.

One College official who was interviewed stated he believed that executive Dean Perry and Linda Buchanan met on one occasion with a representative of the Nation. However, the specific request for a Board meeting and development of an ongoing  dialogue between the Nation and the Board has been completely ignored. The Governing Board agendas following the March 2017 request to the Board by the Nation have not mentioned the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

A copy of the Nation’s letter delivered to each member of the Governing Board asking for development of a constructive dialogue and sharing of constructive ideas can be read in its entirety by clicking on the link below.

LTR TO GOVERNING BOARD MARCH 2017

 

 

PAC ON PRESCOTT CAMPUS OFFERS SEVERAL BIG EVENTS IN SEPTEMBER

Dinner before show costs $32

The Performing Arts Center on the Prescott campus has lined up several outstanding events for Prescott residents during the month of September. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED for dinner. Alcoholic beverages and gratuity is not included in your pre-show dinner ticket price. Tickets for show admission are purchased separately. Vegetarian option available.

Pre-Show Dinners offered at the following performances:

The Beach Boys | Cilantro Lime Marinated Grilled Flank Steak with Olive Relish

Chris Botti | Ginger Soy Glazed Salmon with Lemon & Scallions

Scotty McCreery | Chicken Saltimbocca

The Texas Tenors | Grilled Petit Filet

Garrison Keillor | BBQ Boneless Chicken Breast

The Pirates of Penzance | Baked Stuffed Pork Chops

Michael Londra and the Celtic Fire | Traditional Slow-Cooked Corned Beef

Catherine Russell | Roasted Rosemary Rack of Lamb

 

DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD MEETINGS SET FOR SEPTEMBER 11 & 12

Monday meeting a “retreat”  in Prescott; Tuesday meeting in Sedona provides Verde Valley residents chance to speak out

The Yavapai Community College District Governing Board will hold two meetings this month. The first will be held Monday, September 11, 2017 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Hassayampa Inn, 122 E. Gurley Street. Prescott, Arizona. This public meeting does not allow any input from the public and is held off campus. Historically, almost no one outside College staff are present.

The second meeting will be held at the Sedona Center, 4215 Arts Village Drive. Sedona, Arizona  on Tuesday, September 12.   It begins at 1 p.m.  A member of the public may make a three-minute speech on any topic during the call to the public at this General meeting.

The agendas for both meetings can be found at the following web site.  

ARE ANNUAL TUITION INCREASES AT YAVAPAI COMMUNITY COLLEGE CONSTITUTIONAL?

Does Attorney General Brnovich’s lawsuit against Arizona Board of Regents for not adhering to a State constitutional requirement that tuition for residents attending state universities be “nearly as free as possible” raise legal issues for Yavapai?

On September 8 Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a complaint against the Arizona Board of Regents claiming board members have “dramatically and unconstitutionally’’ increased the cost of going to one of the state’s three universities.  He argued that Arizona’s Constitution, article XI, § 6 was violated.  It states that “The university and all other state educational institutions shall be open to students of both sexes, and the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible.”

Does the fact that student tuition at Yavapai Community College is specifically used to pay off revenue bonds that were sold to renovate the student residence halls violate that Amendment?  After all, the Governing Board could have asked voters to approve a General Obligation Bond to pay for renovation rather than put the debt on the shoulders of student tuition.

Does the fact that over the past ten years the Governing Board has increased tuition in some form at a rate far above inflation while spending an estimated $100 million on capital projects, using money paid from primary taxes for those projects, rather than applying those funds to keep tuition low, violate the State Constitution? After all, the Governing Board could have sought voter approval via General Obligation Bonds to pay for those expensive projects.

Does the fact that tier 2 courses cost double what they cost ten years ago or that in some alleged “market based courses” students pay over $500 per credit hour violate the Constitutional provision to keep tuition as “nearly free as possible”?

Maybe this lawsuit will bring about some answers to those questions.  Maybe the Yavapai Community College District Governing Board might even discuss this issue—but probably not.  The Blog assumes the Board with Deb McCasland most likely dissenting will push through another tuition increase in excess of inflation in February or March 2018 while continuing to spend millions on capital projects using primary tax money rather than ask voters to approve General Obligation Bonds for the projects.  After all, given its history, does anyone really believe there will be a serious attempt by the Yavapai Community College Governing Board to keep tuition as “nearly free as possible?”