The budget for operating GCC is derived from property taxes and student tuition paid by the residents living in Gila County but is managed by Eastern Arizona College (EAC) under the terms of the 2005 management contract between GCC and EAC.
For these EAC management services, GCC is charged a fee of approximately 25 percent of GCC budgeted expenditures. For FY 2011, GCC will pay an estimated $1.125 million management fee to EAC, based on an estimated GCC operating budget of $4.5 million. Requests have been made by GCC board members for information from EAC on costs associated with this fee. A meaningful accounting of these fees apparently has not been forthcoming from EAC. An independent GCC managing its own budget would eliminate this significant expense and give GCC more direct control over its finances.
Recently, Senator Sylvia Allen has taken up the cause for an independent GCC. As head of a task force, approved by the Senate president, she has begun to determine what actions will be necessary to change the Arizona State Statutes to allow GCC to become an independent college. It will not be an easy task and will not happen “overnight” — if Gila County residents want more control over their GCC, it is important to keep Senator Allen in office to continue her quest for GCC independence. A vote for Senator Allen in the District 5 August primary election will be a vote for continuing her support for GCC independence and voter control of their tax money.