Recently the Citizens Awareness Council heard from Dr. Barbara Ganz.
The topic was a rehash of the demise of her administration and events that led to her resignation, and that of her staff, and the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Gila County Community College.
Dr. Ganz waxed philosophical of the treachery of those citizens of the southern part of the county.
Those attending commented that Paysonites would be better to secede from Gila County. Forget the fact that less than 3 percent of the county is privately owned and, hence, the tax base for the county will always be an issue. A further division of the county would probably result in the doubling of the real estate taxes of northern Gila County.
Dr. Ganz warned that with her departure Payson would be in danger of spending more for less at the college.
Upon questioning, some interesting facts came to light. Dr. Ganz stated that the annual budget of the college was approximately $2 million per year. She conceded when she took over the college, enrollment exceeded 900 full-time students and when she resigned, the enrollment was approximately 300 students. She said during her regime approximately 30 students had completed their matriculation. She further stated that there was one full-time instructor and the rest were adjunct instructors, the annual salaries for educators was $125,000. Dr. Ganz disclosed that her annual salary was in excess of $98,000.
So, let's see. After three years of Dr. Ganz's administration, over $6 million has been spent on the community college. Thirty students have completed the course work to obtain an associate's degree; therefore, each associate's degree cost the Gila County taxpayers $200,000 per student.
One would think that perhaps this money might be better spent sending these degree candidates to Harvard or Yale.
I don't know if the return to Eastern Arizona College will improve the Gila County Community College system, but I truly hope that all the citizens of Gila County keep a better eye on what is happening with this school.
The community college must serve all the needs of Gila County. We owe it to our taxpayers, and especially to our students.
Sidney "Jim" Whitely, Payson