Vote Pulls College To Safety

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Educators and community members are sighing with relief all over the county -- Gila Community College is here to stay.

The Arizona House of Representatives voted 32-24 against House Bill 2105, the measure that would have repealed Gila County's provisional community college district, yesterday afternoon.

Dr. Barbara Ganz, president of GCC credited community members and her staff for getting involved and sending letters.

"This is one issue upon which this community just rose up in support and they embraced this campus," said Ganz. "They were diligent about getting information and their opinions to the legislators."

Rep. Bill Konopnicki (R - Dist. 5), using his political brawn, also helped safeguard GCC by brokering a deal with Rep. Laura Knaperek (R - Dist. 17), author of HB 2079, which if passed would have worked in tandem with HB 2105 to dissolve provisional community college districts -- Gila Community College being the only one of its kind in the state.

"Provisional districts will be left alone," said Konopnicki.

Konopnicki swayed Knaperek and other supporters of HB 2105 to remove the language in HB 2079 that would have outlawed provisional community college districts.

"Without those changes I wouldn't have voted for that bill," said Konopnicki.

In return, Konopnicki said, he assured Knaperek that she could count on his vote for HB 2079 when the House reconvenes Monday.

Voting starts at 11 a.m. Konopnicki and Ganz urged citizens to watch the proceedings live on the Internet at: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/.

For more information and to continue writing to legislators, visit the college's website at: www.gilaccc.org.

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