Board Members Continue Fight For College Funding

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"Show me the money" may be a line in the 1996 "Jerry Maguire" movie, but it is also a line repeated by two Gila County Community College Board of Governors in Payson.

Whether Payson is being shortchanged in comparison to what the Globe campus is receiving, depends largely on who is answering the question.

Board member Don Crowley said the north part of the county has 60 percent of the population and is paying 80 percent of the taxes.

In the current fiscal year, Globe has spent 43 percent of its funds or $461,000 of its $1.66 million budgeted, while Payson has spent 25 percent of its allocation or $269,000 out of $1.39 million.

According to the budget, Payson was to have spent 35 percent of its budget by this time, while the Globe campus was to have spent 42 percent of its funds.

Crowley said the reasoning for the disparity comes down to the past history of both communities.

"Globe has been the longtime power center," he said. "We are dealing with history when Globe was a big copper town."

He added that Payson now has the bulk of the population, but history is still balancing the power structure.

The District I governing board member said the Payson campus is being exploited by the location in Globe.

"At some point, the voters of northern Gila County are going to be standing up to the south to make some jarring changes," he said.

Officials from the Globe campus, he said, are aware that Payson is getting the short end of the stick.

"You would have to be an idiot not to know," he said.

He said there are 69 classes in Globe that have no more than two students, which, he said, could never occur in Payson. Almost 14 percent of the classes in Globe have either one or two students.

He thinks the classes should be held when the demand is clearly identified.

"There is no action to fix it," he said. "You have to live with it."

Dean Margo Bracamonte said the funding for the two campuses is based on enrollment numbers, and added that Globe has more students than Payson and therefore gets more funding.

She said there are things the two campuses share such as the Gila County Community College library.

Crowley said one of the first things he observed after being appointed to the governing board a few months ago were the unfair distribution of allocations and things not getting done.

"I am just looking for some improvements," Crowley said, adding that it appears Bracamonte is listening and sounds responsive when finances for the two branches are discussed.

District II governing board member Larry Stephenson said while it may be true that Globe has more students than Payson, the majority of these are taking wellness classes.

This current year, Globe has five wellness classes averaging more than 250 students, for a total of 1,251, while Payson has two wellness courses at 185 a class, for a total of 370 students.

The percentage of classes in Globe is 49.1 percent that caters to 2,248 students when excluding those taking wellness courses. Payson has 24.7 percent of the classes or 1,264 students when excluding wellness courses.

The Globe campus makeup is 35.4 percent seniors, while the Payson campus average is 37.1 percent seniors.

One of the problems at the Payson campus is figuring out what classes to offer to its students.

"If you don't offer classes that people need, you wonder with what little we receive where our money is going," Stephenson said.

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