Meet Yavapai College Governing Board candidate Deb McCasland
Years in Arizona/Verde Valley: Years in Arizona and Yavapai County 54. I have never lived in the Verde Valley
Occupation: Former YCC administrator, currently retired
Education: AA from YCC, BS from NAU, MA in Community College Education from NAU
Elective and Advisory Experience: At the present time, elected YCCDGB member, appointed Prescott Library Advisory Committee co-chair, elected by membership Adult Center of Prescott board Vice President
Civic Affiliations: At the present time, Republican Women of Prescott, Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, Prescott Area Art Trust and Citizens Tax Committee.
Verde Valley Newspapers: What uniquely qualifies you to serve as a member of the Yavapai College District and what has prompted you to seek this position?
McCasland: Having been involved with Yavapai Community College since 1970, I have a unique advantage of knowing its history, administrations, and processes.
As a former administrator at YCC for over 34 years, I know how to read the budgets and ask hard questions to discover where the taxpayers' money is being spent.
I am running for re-election to provide a voice that reflects the concerns of District 2 constituents and refuse to be a rubber stamp for the bureaucracy.
I support funding educational activities, instead of non-educational expenditures such as tennis courts, a soccer complex, or an additional lecture hall in Prescott. The college administration inflates the budget with numerous contingency pockets, underspends, and then transfers the excess tax payer dollars into Future Capital Projects and Maintenance.
This method eliminates the need to pass a general obligation bond to support the $119 million Capital Improvement Plan that provides few improvements in the Verde Valley.
Verde Valley Newspapers: Is the Yavapai College District adequately serving the educational needs of its Verde Valley students? In what areas could the district improve its educational mission and its educational focus in the Verde Valley? How do you proposed that be accomplished?
McCasland: Numerous needs of the Verde Valley students have been identified by the two Verde Valley advisory boards and remain unfunded and unimplemented.
We need to provide increased Career and Technical Education training opportunities in conjunction with VACTE in the Verde Valley. We can provide access to educational programs in small rural communities by utilizing the latest technologies focusing on expanded opportunities for the underserved. The Verde Valley campus can be revitalized to provide a full range of college courses so students can find their pathway to success.
Reallocation of Capital Improvement funds from Prescott to the Verde Valley is imperative to create a centralized CTE program working with existing partners. Working with partnerships we can create remote educational centers in rural areas so students can live at home, work, and increase their knowledge.
Verde Valley Newspapers: Please explain whether you agree with the college's District Governing Board's recent decision to eliminate the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee. How do you suggest the college now solicit feedback from the Verde Valley?
McCasland: I do not agree with the recent decision to eliminate the VVBAC. The dedicated members of this committee invested hundreds of hours learning about college systems and services, as well as a variety of non-YCC educational providers.
They then used this knowledge, mixing it with their constituents' concerns, to produce thoughtful relevant suggestions for the YCC Board to consider for adoption. No other group has a similar knowledge and insight of the college operations.
The Board and College need to continue gathering owner input and listen to the many voices. The recent Verde Valley Forum provided many useful strategies to increase post-secondary educational opportunities. The Verde Valley Consortium might be another opportunity for input.
We all have a common objective and need to work cooperatively to achieve success.