County News

The Verde Valley is no closer to having its own separate administrative college under the Yavapai College banner, but the possibility remains a hot topic in the community college advocate community.

On Feb. 3, the Yavapai College Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee tabled a motion proposed by its Chairman Paul Chevalier to “retain an independent consultant to study the structure, benefits and costs of a separate administrative college.”

“This is a major recommendation,” VVBAC member Carolyn Fisher said, urging members of the committee to educate themselves prior to making any decision.

The majority of VVBAC members, including Co-chairman William Regner, expressed reluctance to consider making the recommendation or using an independent consultant.

Chevalier agreed with the general consensus, saying that he had many unanswered questions about creating a separate administrative college — particularly whether or not its administration would report directly to the Yavapai College District Governing Board.

“It would probably be best to educate ourselves more,” Chevalier concluded.

Ruth Wicks, co-organizer of the Verde Valley Community College Citizen Advocates group and a constant presence at VVBAC and Governing Board meetings, was not so circumspect.

“​This separate administrative college is legal in the state of Arizona,” Wicks stated Feb. 4. ​“​Clint Ewell, CFO of the college,​ and Ray Sigafoos, ​Governing Board ​m​ember,​ repeatedly ​said​ the cost would be​​ about ​$​1.5 million to set up.”​

According to Wicks, the administration’s claims of the prohibitive cost of creating a separate administrative college do not hold water. The ​Maricopa Community College s​ystem has​ ​created separate administrative colleges 10​ times​.

“​​Each of ​its individual colleges​ —​ i.e., Scottsdale Community, Glendale Community College — ​has​ ​its​ own ​president​​ and ​its​ own board​​. Each college creates ​its own budge​t​ and submits ​it ​to the ​chancellor of the ​system,​ who then gives it to the larger, single ​MCC board for approval,” according to Wicks.

“This is something that keeps coming up from our communities,” Chevalier said Feb. 5. “We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t look at consulting with someone about this.”

At the same time, Chevalier added, there is considerable confusion about what a separate administrative college is. According to him, there are two options for Yavapai College Verde Campus: To continue as part of Yavapai College but establish its own separate administration, or sever ties with Yavapai College altogether.

“We’re not talking about that,” Chevalier said of the latter option. To do that, he added, would require a legislative change at the state level.

Eying an Alternative
The Yavapai College Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee’s Feb. 3 meeting is not the first time the possibility of creating a separate administrative college in the Verde Valley has been brought up. On Oct. 31, 2014, Eye on Yavapai College’s Robert Oliphant posted a link to a video, “Verde Valley Community College Education Struggle,” explaining: “It provides a general overview that explains the reasons why many residents in the Verde Valley are seeking a separate administrative campus. An administrative campus, which is allowed under Arizona law, would help remove the east side of Yavapai County from the domination of the development of the community college by the west side.”

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