Archive for Administrative College


Urges Board to consider Maricopa Model to reduce post-secondary educational inequity between east and west County; says 70,000 citizens now on east side to support new college compared to less than 40,000 in entire County when College began in late 1960s

Ruth Wicks addressed the Governing Board at its November 2017 meeting regarding a statement made by West-County Voting Bloc member Pat McCasland at the October meeting that things will “never, ever be equal” in terms of learning opportunities between the east and west sides of Yavapai County.  Wicks urged the Board to examine the Maricopa model to reduce the enormous inequality between the two sides of the County.

She pointed out that an administrative college is completely sustainable on the east side of the County with more than 70,000 citizens now living on that side of the County.  When the College was begun in the late 1960s, she reminded the Board there were less than 40,000 citizens in the entire County.

You may view Wicks addressing the Board on this subject in the video below.



Examines the history of efforts for East Side Community College Independence during this period

Attached is a short historical essay that examines the efforts made by the East side of Mingus Mountain (Verde Valley) politicians to establish some sort of an independent Community College.  It covers the period 1975 to 2013.  Another essay to be posted in the future will detail the efforts from 2014 to 2017.

You may download the essay or read it online.



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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. The VVBAC recommended no tuition increase. This was rejected by District Governing Board 3-2.
  4. The VVBAC recommended that the Sedona Center not be closed and sold. This recommendation was approved on a 5 – 0 vote.
  5. 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:

  1. Allocate a far greater percentage of financial resources generated in the Verde to the Verde.
  2. Establish effective and efficient local decision-making through a Verde Advocate structure rather than through Prescott.
  3. Implement an ongoing Verde marketing and recruitment program of continuous and direct interaction with Verde lower and secondary education students and their parents.
  4. Focus on increasing student numbers in the Verde.
  5. In the Verde Valley create a CTE building for classes in fields that meet the needs of Verde residents.
  6. Prioritize building a state of the art delivery system.
  7. Add sufficient remote learning centers for distance learning opportunities.
  8. Provide and increase core transfer courses.
  9. Provide and increase multiple pathways of 2+1, 2+2, Certification, and CTE.
  10. Increase Verde scholarship and financial assistance and maintain an affordable tuition rate.
  11. Add focus on working with governments in all Verde communities to increase broadband coverage that can be used by the college.
  12. Fund all capital projects privately or through bonding rather than taxes, tuition and fees.
  13. Further incorporate workforce demand analysis in education decision-making. Build stronger local partnerships for business development and job creation.
  14. Focus on solutions for Verde affordable student housing.
  15. Encourage the immediate exploration of alternative models or structures to increase Foundation related activities and fund raising in the Verde. 
  16. Recommend revised criteria for evaluating investment needed for new programs as well as criteria for continuing programs.



Al Filardo

Al Filardo

Mr. Al Filardo formally resigned his seat on the Yavapai College District Governing Board November 1, 2016 at the meeting of the Board in Sedona.  Filardo, who completed two years on the Board, found it impossible to work with the three-member majority on the Board led by Pat McCarver. Bob Oliphant, who preceded Filardo, resigned after one year on the Board representing the Verde Valley.

In his resignation speech, Filardo pointed to four key areas of guiding principles that caused his resignation.  They were the Board and College:  (1). Making significant fiscal commitments without the requisite comprehensive strategic planning; (2). Failing to authorize research to inform important, key decisions; (3). Overlooking problems masked by policy governance; and (4). Suspending the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee.

Filardo stated that  “My observation is we are getting caught up in the quarrel and forgetting our mandated cause – we are to serve the educational needs of the citizens of Yavapai County.  How can we know their needs if we silence their voices. Based on my years of experience as a process-improvement and organizational development champion, I’ve witnessed when intelligent people quarrel and lose sight of the real cause, they do incredibly stupid things.  They become politically obnoxious, diplomatically inept, and intellectually bankrupt.”

You may read all of Mr. Filaro’s speech by clicking .al-filardo-speech.



“We are being cheated out of the facilities and programming we deserve and are paying for”


Mr. Staadecker

Joel Staadecker, a 16 year Sedona resident, urged the Sedona Mayor and Council at the September 27, 2016 meeting to join him and others to persuade the Governor and State Legislature to create an independent taxing district for an independent Verde Valley community college.   We “must get out from under the crushing oppression of the Yavapai College governance system, leadership and management that resides and works on the West side of  Mingus Mountain for the benefit of the Prescott region communities,” he said.

 He went on to say that the citizens need a community college in the Verde Valley because “we are being cheated out of the facilities and programming we deserve and are paying for in our property tax dollars.”

He pointed out that two days after the Verde Valley Forum, attended by about 100 participants, recommended that an unbiased, independent study be conducted to examine the establishment of an independently governed community college in the Verde Valley, the Prescott dominated Governing Board effectively abolished the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee. That Committee made a similar recommendation on the day before it was abolished. The three members from the Prescott region that voted to eliminate it apparently knew in advance from newspaper reports that the Committee would be making the recommendation. 

Mr. Staadecker’s short speech to the Sedona Council can be viewed by clicking here.

Next Verde Valley College hires to live in Verde Valley, says Ewell

Fear of Administrative College no doubt causing Administration back-peddling

DiNunzio 2

Sedona Vice Mayor Mark DiNunzio

The exchange between Sedona’s Vice Mayor, Mark DiNunzio  and College Vice President Clint Ewell at the March 22 Sedona City Council meeting showed that the Prescott dominated administrative structure was yielding, at least to some extent, to the concerns evinced by Valley residents the past two years over the fact that all the major administrative posts on the Verde Campus were held by people living in Prescott.  Ewell was questioned directly by Mr. DiNunzio about the fact that all of the recent major administrative appointments in the Verde Valley continue to live in Prescott.

Ewell  promised, if any of those positions became open  that as new people are hired, we will strongly encourage them to live on “this side of the mountain.”

You may view the exchange between Vice Mayor DiNunzio and Vice President Ewell by clicking here.

Verde Valley Newspapers take Governing Board to task

Editorials criticize refusal to consider independent consultant to assess whether an administrative college or other scheme will benefit the Verde Valley

extra extra read all about itBoth managing editors of the local Verde Valley newspapers have expressed their strong disapproval of the College Governing Board’s 3-2 vote at its March meeting rejecting the request of the Verde Valley Board representatives to hire a consultant to look into the possibility of a different Community College administrative structure.  The creation of a separate administrative college was one of many possible configurations the expert could examine.  The President and the three-member West County representatives rejected the request saying it was impossible to find an objective expert to do the assessment and anyway, it might cost $50,000.

The Sedona Redrock News managing editor, Christoper Fox Graham, penned a searing editorial that appeared in the March 23, 2016 edition of his newpaper about the decision by the West County representatives on the Board to reject the request.  He wrote, in part, that: “The Yavapai College District Governing Board has again declined to serve taxpayers in the Verde Valley and Sedona. . . . A consultant would likely tell the board the awful truth it refuses to hear: College leaders are poorly serving nearly a third of the taxpayers who pay its bills.”

He continued with his editorial asserting that: “An administrative college would placate those most vocal about secession and yet the college chose not to even look at means to keep taxpayers from revolting.”

His complete editorial (online) can be found by clicking here.

A commentary by Editor Dan Engler that appeared in the Verde Independent March 4 questioned whether “the process [would] have been better served if the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee been allowed to do its job. At the end of their February meeting, committee members made it perfectly clear that an exploration of a separate administrative college for the Verde Valley was foremost on their minds. But before the VVBAC could take up the issue at its March meeting, Filardo had pushed the question forward to the governing board and came up on the short end of a 3-2 vote.”

Engler mused that:  “It’s one thing to reject the findings of the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee. . . . But it sure would have been nice to at least let them ask before you say no.”  The commentary by Mr. Engler can be found online by clicking here. 

Carol German speaks out on West County vote against hiring consultant

Points out the ridiculous nature of the objections made by 3 vote majority

Carol German, writing in her capacity as a citizen and not as a representative of the Camp Verde City Council, wrote the following letter to the editor in the March 13 Verde Independent.  Her letter is reproduced in full below (as provided to the Blog).


Ms. Carol German

On March 1, 2016 the Yavapai College Governing Board held its monthly Board meeting.  As an attendee, I was disappointed and a little surprised by the Board’s reaction and vote in regard to a Board member’s motion to bring in an outside consultant to study the needs of the Verde Valley concerning Post-Secondary Education.  The Board Member’s motion consisted of various options to be studied, not just a separate administrative college.

The discussion that followed was surprising in the fact that three of the board members only concentrated on one model and missed the point of the motion.  The President of the Board made the argument that it would be impossible to find an unbiased consultant to conduct this research.  And further, she indicated the cost would probably be around $50,000 and this was far too expensive.  It is confusing to me that spending $50,000 is too expensive when Verde Valley taxpayers annually pay $15,000,000 to the College.  Fifty thousand dollars compared to 15 million is a drop in the bucket for a study that could benefit citizens on the East side of Yavapai County.

The two elected Board Members representing the Verde Valley did an admirable job of pointing out the benefits of this independent and unbiased study regarding access and equity issues.  As was pointed out in the discussion the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee of the District Governing Board has through their 16 recommendations also pointed out their concerns along these lines.

The final vote on this opportunity for clarity, transparency and sound research was 3 to 2.  What a shame that the Governing Board did not take this opportunity to address access and equity to Post-secondary education for all of Yavapai County.  The College administration needs to remember that YCCC stands for Yavapai County Community College, and that Verde Valley taxpayers deserve adequate access and equity to post-secondary education. 

Carol German

Camp Verde

Former Verde Valley Assistant Dean of Student Services makes futile plea for Administrative College

“If someone takes something from you without your permission, you first politely ask them to give it back:” Request falls on deaf ears 

The recently retired Verde Valley Assistant Dean of Student Services, Ms. Barbie Duncan, pleaded with the Yavapai College District Governing Board at its March 1 meeting to return what Prescott has taken from the Verde Valley. Unfortunately, her plea was futile as demonstrated by a 3-2 vote against hiring a consultant to examine various community college models.

falling on deaf earsShe asked that the authority taken away six years ago from the Verde Valley and placed in Prescott supervisors be returned.
She pointed out that six years ago, eleven full-time and part-time student services positions (60%) were either cut or reassigned to the Prescott Campus. She said that the cuts and reassignments correlate to the decline in enrollment on the Verde Campus.

Course offerings and faculty have been reduced “so dramatically” on the East side of the County that students can “rarely find enough classes to fill a full-time enrollment in their study,” she said.

She asked that East County taxes be returned to East County facilities rather than spent on the West side of the County. The three members of the West County voted as a block to reject hiring a consultant to objectively examine the isssue.

You may listen to her entire three minute presentation by clicking here.

Editorial urges that College and interest groups seek common ground

Goal of everyone is better educational opportunities for the Verde Valley: the problem is Dr. Wills



In an editorial in the Verde Independent, the editor asks, “Can we pull together for sake of young adults?” The editor goes on to urge cooperation between all the various groups in the Verde Valley and the College.  You may read the editorial by clicking here.

We agree! But there’s a problem.

The Blog strongly agrees with the sentiment expressed in the editorial.  It has been the goal of the advocates for an Administrative College for the past two years and the Blue Ribbon Verde Valley Governing Board Advisory Committee in the last several months to join all parties in a cooperative working relationship.  The problem, to put it bluntly, is Dr. Penelope Wills.

First resident group meeting seeking cooperation two years ago fails

Two years ago, following the huge turnout of residents on March 4, 2014 at the District Governing Board meeting to protest the closing of the Sedona Center, a select group of Verde Valley residents was quietly put together to meet with Dr. Wills and discuss how the Valley could cooperate with the College in the future.  A meeting was arranged.  However, the members of the group, to a person, left the meeting with Dr. Wills shaking their heads.  Their perception was that she was neither interested in cooperation nor their ideas.  

Supervisors joint meeting ignored

On September 21, 2015 the Yavapai County Supervisors voted to remove the College representative from the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) Workforce Development Board (WDB).  During that discussion Supervisor “Chip” Davis expressed his concern  about the College’s recent behavior in the Verde Valley. He addressed his remarks to Governing Board representative Al Filardo: “I beg of you, pass on to your board that we are waiting with open arms for a great relationship.  But the one that has been coming out of there for the last few years has been very disruptive and nonproductive.”  Davis went on to suggest a joint meeting between the College and the Supervisors.  That request was ignored by the College and no meeting ever occurred.

Board Advisory Committee cooperative overture rejected

Four months ago (November, 2015), Mr. Paul Chevalier, the Chair of the Blue Ribbon Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee, pleaded with the Governing Board to create a series of meetings consisting of the Advisory Committee, Governing Board, and the College administration to discuss sixteen recommendations made by the Committee to improve educational opportunities in the Verde Valley.  You may view Mr. Chevalier’s request to the Governing Board by clicking here. The suggestion from Mr. Chevalier was met with outright hostility by the Chair of the District Governing Board, Pat McCarver. It was ignored by Wills’ and her staff.

The problem, to put it bluntly, is Dr. Penelope Wills.

The bottom line is this:  As long as Penelope Wills heads the College, cooperation with the Verde Valley will be stingy at best. And in reality, nonexistent.