Minutes after discussing open communication and more in-depth discussion, the Gila Community College board went back to its old ways.
Despite two board members’ protests, the rest of the board moved ahead with a plan that waives senior tuition to those attending classes at the Globe Senior Center.
This is the second time in the last few months the board has flip-flopped on its tuition schedule. In May, facing a $630,000 deficit, the board altered its tuition and raised rates across the board.
It also agreed to charge seniors 60 and older 25 percent of the new fees.
However, a month later, it reversed back to its old tuition schedule, which gives a break to students taking between two and six credit hours. The board agreed to add a 25 percent increase on this tuition schedule and leave senior tuition rates in place.
Members Larry Stephenson and Tom Loeffler opposed this decision and on Wednesday, Loeffler asked the board to take more time discussing such issues.
Loeffler said he was only given minutes to sift through the latter plan, which President Bob Ashford proposed, and didn’t have the time or data to determine if it would cover the deficit.
After review, Loeffler said it looks like the college will still have a $260,000 shortfall, meaning it needs 210 new full-time students or 1,226 half-time students to make up the difference.
“We need to develop a more business like approach,” before voting on important agenda items like the budget, Loeffler said.
Loeffler asked for more time to review agenda items and better data to back up decisions.
Ashford agreed and said it was fair for board members to want information well ahead of a meeting to study and he was open to holding more work-study sessions.
“I think our decisions need to be made on data, not assumptions and beliefs,” Stephenson said.
Later, the board was asked to waive tuition for those seniors attending classes at the Globe Senior Center.
Senior Dean Stephen Cullen said the city of Globe might not let the college hold classes at the center if it did not go ahead with the waiver. Stephenson said the board was setting a dangerous precedence waiving fees for some groups.
“We shouldn’t give into threats,” Loeffler said.
Despite their objections, Ashford and board members Bernadette Kniffin and Armida Bittner voted in favor with Stephenson and Loeffler opposed.