Committee Urged To Kill Bill

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State Rep. John Allen's (R-Dist. 11) motives for introducing House Bill 2105, which would repeal a law establishing provisional community college districts, are cloudy, suspicious and misguided.

Why would a Maricopa County legislator who lives in the midst of one of the largest community college districts in the country and adjacent to the Arizona State University campus, want to deprive the students of Gila County of the right to a post-secondary education?

Why would he not want Gila County residents to have a voice in their own higher education?

Does he not believe in the concept of "home rule" in which the people affected know what's best for their community?

Allen apparently has an agenda --B 2105 is his third attempt to repeal laws that allow the establishment of provisional community college districts, like Gila Community College.

His previous two attempts failed.

Is it possible that Allen's reasons for pushing to abolish provisional college districts are somehow connected with the ongoing lawsuits between Gila Community College and Eastern Arizona College?

Those familiar with the lawsuits and HB 2105 issues argue they are not separate, but somehow connected.

In assessing the situation, it becomes obvious that a remarkable coincidence would have to occur for a legislator to introduce a bill to kill provisional college districts at the same time the only provisional district in the state is fighting for its very existence.

If Allen is successful in repealing provisional college laws, Gila Community College would be dissolved and possibly taken over by EAC. That would be a step backward to the old system that never included a viable college district in Gila County.

At a local college board meeting last week, member Larry Stephenson (District 2) might have characterized the old relationship between EAC and GCC best when he said, "This campus was kind of a stepchild."

The old way of EAC management was not successful and Gila County voters rejected it at the polls more than two years ago.

Allen's attempts to repeal provisional college laws is a slap in the face to the Gila County voters who said, with their ballots, that they wanted to have a voice in governing their own community college.

The best thing members of the House Appropriations Committee can do for Gila County and the state of Arizona when they hear HB 2105 tomorrow is to let it die.

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