Gila County’s very own community college, GCC, has since May been on a quest to develop a plan for achieving independence, or stand-alone status. As of Thursday evening, that vision may have come to an end. Chairman of the college governing board, Bob Ashford, and the two other Globe area board members voted down a resolution in support of GCC independence, which was key in achieving this status.
Currently, the college does not possess the legal ability to hold accreditation, and only exists as a provisional college. As a result, GCC contracts with Eastern Arizona College for its accreditation and other services the college does not currently provide. Gila County taxpayers are paying millions of dollars to EAC for these services. Senator Sylvia Allen formed a Senate task force to develop a plan and draft legislation that would allow Gila Community College to become a stand-alone, fully accredited college.
Senator Allen contacted Chairman Bob Ashford, who also serves on the task force, to inform him of the need for a resolution to be passed by the college governing board to make known their support of becoming independent. Chairman Ashford had a resolution prepared which simply concluded, “Be it resolved that the Gila County Provisional Community College District Governing Board supports changes to Arizona statutes to create a reasonable pathway to allow a provisional community college district to transition to a fully organized community college district despite not meeting the current legal requirements.”
After Chairman Bob Ashford brought the resolution supporting independence before the governing board for consideration, the two Payson board members, who make up the five-member board, supported the resolution; however, all three Globe area board members, including Chairman Bob Ashford, stated that they could not support the resolution for independence. Ashford and the other two Globe votes defeated the resolution and may have permanently stalled any effort to achieve independence for Gila Community College.
GCC Governing Board Chairman Bob Ashford is up for re-election on Tuesday. Ashford does have a challenger running against him for the seat.