I wish to commend you for your editorial “GCC board needs more control.” You point to long standing problems in the way the laws were set up governing community colleges in Arizona. Perhaps the rules governing provisional community colleges seemed to make sense, but history has proven them to be deeply flawed, and we in Gila County, and Payson in particular, are paying the price.
If the multiple issues that are contained in the GCC’s relationship with Eastern Arizona College (EAC) are ever to be solved, the community and the newspaper must get behind Payson’s community college and go to the legislature for corrective measures.
I have been told that EAC itself only became a community college because it already existed and was grandfathered into the community college system even though it did not, at the time, meet the requirements to be a community college. These are the same requirements that prevent us from running our own free-standing community college in Gila County.
I wonder if even now EAC would meet the required legislative thresholds in property valuations and population counts that stand in our way. In any case, it is grossly unfair that we are the only community college that must be a vassal to another college and pay an extra 25 percent of all our costs to EAC for its administrative assistance.
I would also point out that the upcoming census is critical in establishing Payson’s and Northern Gila County’s population, which will determine redistricting and our representation in the legislature going forward. The census is not just a little exercise to satisfy the curiosity of bean counters! It will determine how much power our county in general, and Northern Gila County in particular, will have in the future, so stand up and be counted.