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Thu, Nov. 14

Q&A: Paul Chevalier seek District 3 seat on Yavapai College Board

Paul Chevalier

Paul Chevalier

Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Council Chairwoman Jane Russell-Winiecki recently said in a commentary that Yavapai College is “sadly lacking” and that the current model of governance “is ineffective.” Do you agree with the chairwoman’s statement? Please explain.

Chevalier: I agree 100 percent. The current model is wrong and has been a disaster for the Verde Valley.

In this model, the board delegates almost all decisions to the president. What is left for the board to do is approving the president’s recommendations for the annual budget, tax, tuition and fee hikes and the President’s salary.

The current president has spent millions of dollars of our Verde Valley taxpayers’ money to expand one single campus in the county, and that is in Prescott.

Our Clarkdale site is not considered a community college campus by this state (too insignificant - too few students, teachers and classes) and neither is any other place in this county, except Prescott considered a community college. 

A county community college system is supposed to bring education to residents’ communities throughout the county -- not just one spot in a county bigger than Vermont, Delaware or Israel.

The current model, which gives the president the power to focus on creating a community college in only one spot in the county, ensures we, in the Verde Valley, will never be allowed to get equity and use our tax money for our residents. 

With several community colleges in the Phoenix and the Tucson areas, as well as four-year universities north and south of the Verde Valley, what do you believe that Yavapai College needs to do to remain a relevant and desirable option for post-secondary learners?

Chevalier: By giving our residents the educational opportunity they need and want, and to do it at a much lower price, by being much more cost effective than we have been.

I would create classes, in partnership with business, for needed professional middle class paying jobs - i.e. HAV, electricians, plumbers, various hospital technicians, nurses (in conjunction with hospitals) etc. I would train chefs, not just line cooks (which are minimum wage jobs), at the Culinary Institute.  

I would expand our wine production educational capabilities. This is a winner so let’s go with it.

I believe our board members should get out more in our communities to find out what jobs are needed and wanted and how to partner with our businesses. Ultimately the buck stops with the Governing Board. 

With the Verde Valley’s reputation as the place where young people flee once they graduate high school, what could Yavapai College do to keep young people in the area for college – and beyond?

Chevalier: I do not have an answer for this. I do know that for those young and not so young people who do want to stay in the Verde Valley we need to try and provide them with good and relevant education leading to middle class and above jobs right here in the Verde Valley, if they so wish.

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