Suspended - or disbanded - college pulls plug on advisory committee

College Board Member Al Filardo

College Board Member Al Filardo

CLARKDALE - The Yavapai College District Governing Board was clear Tuesday when it told members of Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee that their services would not be needed as of Sept. 30.

What isn't clear is whether the board's 3-2 vote was to pause operations - or to eliminate the committee once and for all.

Ask DGB President Dr. Patricia McCarver and board member Al Filardo - and the committee's status has been frozen, suspended.

"Now we want to hear from different people," Dr. McCarver said prior to Tuesday's meeting. "What we asked them to do was completed. Now we'll focus on somewhere else."

Though the DGB explained Tuesday that they appreciated the advisory committee's efforts, board member Deb McCasland used the word "disbanded" when referring to the VVBAC. And not in a show of agreement.

"It seemed to be of no surprise to everyone but me," McCasland said.

Not happy with the college governing board's decision Tuesday, advisory committee Vice Chairman Bill Regner said that though the committee did what it was asked to do, the committee's work "isn't finished."

"Three years ago when Verde Valley residents began to object to the inequities in Yavapai College's 10-Year Master Plan, we were told by the College that the Verde Valley didn't know what it wanted and therefore they couldn't design programs and dedicate financial resources to them," Regner said. "Well, I don't think that is the case anymore. The VVBAC can take a large measure of credit for that. The work will continue to encourage the College to reassess those long-range plans and allow more of the Verde Valley's tax revenues to remain here to benefit Verde Valley students."

Allocated equitably

The Yavapai-Apache Nation provides more than $1.5 million to education for its people, "part of this funding would go back to the county," said Darlene Rubio, Vice Chairwoman of the Yavapai-Apache Nation's Tribal Council.

Rubio told the college's district governing board that it is becoming "increasingly apparent" that tax dollars paid by Verde Valley residents for education "are not being allocated equitably."

"The doors of our local educational institutions must be opened as widely as possible so that our children will have every reasonable opportunity to learn, grow and contribute to the betterment and success of our communities," Rubio said.

'Cities and communities don't always agree on things'

Close to two years ago, Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter appointed the first members of what became the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee.

Though he was "somewhat disappointed" to hear of Tuesday's decision, Carter said the committee's work was a success.

"People need to realize that it was an advisory committee," Carter said. "The governing board has the final say on matters. I think Yavapai College went into unchartered ground because it's rare to see advisory committees from the public."

When Carter appointed members to the college's advisory committee, he was appointing people who had already been vetted by their respective communities. Because of that, one of the committee's great challenges was that "cities and communities don't always agree on things."

"The committee would be diverse," Carter said. "Some people had very strong views. They really needed to voice the views of the community, not necessarily their own views. The views of their community should be the predominant view they articulate."

Then it was the college board's responsibility to collect the information and to make a decision on matters - or "not make a decision," Carter said.

"If the committee pushed and pushed and pushed past a point of reasonable request," Carter said, "then it seemed to me that the elected body would either become indifferent, or say they're not going to deal with it anymore."

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