Do you think Sylvia Allen's bill for GCC independence is a good idea?

Yes 83 votes

58.87%

No 45 votes

31.91%

Undecided 13 votes

9.22%

141 total votes

Comments

Dan Haapala 4 years ago

This is an issue that I take very seriously. The State of Arizona decided that in order to have a college in your county you had to be able to afford to support it. Community Colleges are required to be in Counties with an appropriate population and an appropriate assessed valuation. That has nothing to do with a college. When the State legislature made the requirement, they had just gone through a struggle over a County that wanted to divide itself. Yuma County left residents in the north feeling they were not being represented and petitioned to separate. La Paz County was the result; However, La Paz soon found themselves in financial straights because of the laws that required certain government agencies be in a county. La Paz was saved by the State, but they looked at the Five poorest counties in the State and said, what if they want to have a community college, find out they can't afford it, and call on the State for help? Soon the law came and Gila, Santa Cruz, Apache, Greenlee, (I'm sorry I don't have the other county on the top of my head) were denied the right to have a community college. The Arizona constitution requires that college be available to all residents nearly free,. Payson resident Doyle Coffey, a friend who I hope doesn't mind me mentioning his name here, saw more than two decades ago that a college was a mandatory part of our economic structure here in Rim Country and went to work to make it happen. He went to the Legislature and successfully got the money to buy the Forest Service Land where the Campus now sits. He got the money to build the buildings that we now call our Campus. Then because of the law we had to hire a Community College to come and teach. If you want to learn more then research Eastern Arizona College. In 1999 persuasion was pushed on the legislators to help us. Representative Jake Flake, with the help of Senator Jack Brown, Started working on Legislation to help Gila County, but their allegiance was to Safford and EAC and the result was "Provisional Community College" status. What that meant was Gila County could have a Community College, but because we didn't meet the requirements of state law we would have to: 1) Vote to become a provisional community college district. 2) Vote to approve being taxed to support a provisional community college district. And 3 {this hurts the worse} Contract with a State recognized Community college. This is the bottom line. We pay taxes for a Community College. We are the only County in the State to do it. We contract with EAC to provide services. We pay them for the services PLUS 24% for the right to teach us. Cost plus 24%. every light switch, cost plus 24%, every vehicle cost plus 24% etc, etc, etc,.The resistance comes from the rich counties who do not want to share the tax dollars. There is also a very POWERFUL lobby for EAC who does not want to lose any tax dollars. Does Senator Allens bill for GCC independence have merit? ABSOLUTELY!

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