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During this time, Yavapai College will compete with 57 colleges representing 31 states and 815,000 students in an effort to be named the National Outdoor Champion.
We encourage everyone to support YC by posting photos of activities from hiking, to biking, to kayaking and more. On February 3, 2015 Yavapai Community College President Penelope Wills answered questions about post-secondary problems, which were put to here by the Blue-Ribbon Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee.  One of those questions asked whether the College would give special consideration to the poor and economically challenged families whose children wanted to take dual enrollment courses but could not afford the new fee the College intends to impose on them. In her response to the VVBAC question, which you can listen to in full by clicking here, she listed a number of gripes she had with the County High Schools over this program. Some students don’t have “skin-in-the-game,” which probably means she believes they don’t take the courses seriously unless they have to pay something for them.
Administrative costs have suddenly mushroomed, with her estimate being that it now costs $300,000 in administration to run the program. Offers by High Schools to take over administration costs have been rejected by the College because not all High Schools have the capability of providing the data. However, data just released by the auditors in a report dated June, 2015 (represented by the first chart below) seems to raise some question about the sudden growth of dual enrollment. Note the headcount enrollment figures beginning back in 1996 and leading up to 2006–a period without a recession. Make you own conclusion:  Is Wills’ correct when she lays blame for the decline in student enrollment to the fact the state has moved out of the 2007-2010 recession? Yavapai Community College President Penelope Wills places education of Yavapai County students far too low on her list of priorities.
Think about it:  She is anticipating spending $119 million on new building projects while student enrollment at the College continues to plumet. She spent over $1 million dollars to build a professional tennis complex where there is no College tennis team.  The Prescott Campus swimming pool and therapy pools are carefully groomed although the College has no swim team. Her latest assault on education is her determination to force Yavapai High Schools to pay at least $10 per credit for taking dual enrollment classes at the high school.  That fee will be assessed beginning this fall. He pointed out that the High Schools pay the teachers, provide the space, desks, textbooks, and transportation.  “The prospect of adding a fee directly to the students for what appear to be administrative and support expenses is of concern,”  he said.
He asked that the Administration reconsider passing on any fees to the high schools in the dual enrollment program. Superintendent Tighe’s brief statement to the District Governing Board may be viewed in full by clicking here.
Graham also charged that President Wills’ is “lining the pockets of the Prescott area college without any added benefit to our communities. He suggested that “If the college doesn’t repeal this fee structure, it would make more sense for Verde Valley school districts to simply cut ties with Yavapai College and instead partner with Northern Arizona University or the University of Arizona for their dual enrollment classes.
Is it time for high schools in Yavapai County to be adequately compensated for teaching community college dual enrollment courses for Yavapai Community College? Second, the high schools bear the cost of searching out and providing qualified teachers for the dual enrollment courses. Fourth, the College pays nothing to rent space from the high schools for the dual enrollment courses such as English.
Fifth, the College does not pay for utilities such as heat, light, and air conditioning of classrooms. Sixth, the College does not pay for installation, maintenance and use of classroom technology.


Eighth, the College encounters no maintenance costs associated with the classrooms used to teach dual enrollment classes. While County high schools are constantly struggling to make ends meet, the Community College is awash with money from County taxpayers. Given the huge revenue surplus enjoyed by Yavapai Community College, and its constant property tax revenue stream, it seems to me it is time that it begin paying the County High Schools an adequate stipend to compensate them for providing fully accredited post-secondary college courses to County students.
The Penelope Wills’ administration announced at the December 8, 2015 Governing Board meeting that it was moving ahead on charging each high school student who takes a dual enrollment class at a high school in Yavapai County at least a $10 per credit fee. Scott Farnsworth, the interim Vice President of Instruction and Student Development made the fee announcement to the Governing Board. When Representative Deb McCasland raised a question about the letter signed by the 8 superintendents opposing the fee increase, the Board lawyer ruled her question out of order. It is a fact that no serious study of dual enrollment in the County has been undertaken.  Yet, without an analytical basis to support his views, Farnsworth attacked the motives of many students who take dual enrollment classes. In a demonstration of arrogance and total independence from what citizens in the County may think about public education,  Dr. Since the May, 2013 detailed report to the Governing Board, the College has come up with new figures that add over a quarter million dollars in costs to the program. If the fee is imposed by the College, High schools, such as the Camp Verde District will be forced to pay out about $10,000 annually.  Something its superintendent states it cannot afford. The College ignores the fact that taxpayers are already providing a huge subsidy to the Community College—about $44 million annually in primary property tax revenue and it is spending it on such projects as a professional tennis court–it has no tennis team. On August 1 the editor of the Verde Independent wrote a commentary on the editorial page lauding Yavapai College for its dual enrollment program in the Verde Valley.
First, you state that “fiscal wisdom of this business model is suspect.” Since when has post-secondary education been relegated to a “business model” rather than an educational model? Second, the dual enrollment program is offered to all high schools in Yavapai County; not just the Verde Valley as your editorial implies.
Third, you failed to tell your readers that the College administrators are circulating a proposal to Yavapai County High School superintendents in which they propose to lay a tax on the already cash strapped high schools for students who are participating in the Dual Enrollment program.
The Prescott administrators, who have an insatiable appetite for revenue to drive programs on the West side of the County surmise, without supporting data,  that dual enrollment is cutting into their profit margin. Or, maybe the proposed tax on credits will kill off the growing dual enrollment program because our high schools cannot afford it.
Fourth, you also failed to explain to your readers what the high schools are providing to the dual enrollment program at no additional cost to taxpayers or the College.
Your editorial should have been thanking the high school superintendents and faculty for agreeing to provide this opportunity—not the college.The College, which receives state funding for a portion of the dual enrollment program, says it is losing revenue on the project. Outdoor enthusiasts throughout the college and Yavapai County are invited to sign up and share photos of any outdoor activities they participate on the OC website. The most "outdoorsy person" on each campus who posts the most photos will also be recognized. Her bottom line solution to paying for the College credits was to have County High School Foundations, if they exist, provide for them. This is particular the case since in May, 2013 the College appeared happy with a report that found it was essentially breaking even with the dual enrollment program.
At the top of her educational agenda are buildings, buildings, building, despite a 5,000 drop in student enrollment, which is continuing under her presidency.


The dual enrollment classes provide qualified Junior and senior high school students with an opportunity to earn a limited number of college credits while still in high school. Tighe explained that last year there were 1,361 college credits obtained by high school students in the dual enrollment programs in Mingus Union High School alone.   This is roughly $115,000 savings to the taxpayers in the district, he said.
A dual enrollment course is taught by highly qualified high school teachers to qualified students in high schools throughout the County. Penelope Wills’ administration has an insatiable appetite for more and more money to finance building projects in Prescott without interference from County residents.
The superintendents  were apparently given one-year to decide whether they would go along with the College’s demands.
Those of us fighting for decent post-secondary opportunities for residents of the Verde Valley firmly believe that educational opportunities are not to be sacrificed on the alter of some cockeyed and wasteful business model dreamed up by the Prescott administrators. It is not some kind of a gift to the Verde Valley because the Prescott bureaucrats care about students over here.
According to the letter, they propose a tax on each student credit that ranges from $10 to $25 per credit. By imposing this tax on student credits, they believe it will generate more revenue so they can invest into such noneducational projects as a $1.3 million tennis court, which was built primarily for the City of Prescott (the College has no tennis team).
However, all the current crop of Prescott based College administrators can see is an opportunity to add more revenue to the College coffers to finance their wasteful spending.
It receives a state stipend that goes toward any costs it might incur in the dual enrollment program.
Or, waste $5 million dollars on renovating a decent college auditorium on the Prescott campus so it could become an 1105 seat dinner theatre for the residents of Prescott. They also provide desks, technology, and a qualified teacher to teach the dual enrollment class to qualified students. Those of us in the Verde Valley who pay around $16 million dollars a year in property taxes to the College, a large portion of it going to noneducational or limited educational projects on the West side of the County, believe that even if the $300,000 is a true and accurate estimate, it is peanuts when compared to the enormous savings to taxpayers and the enormous benefits received by the residents of the County. Most of the costs associated with dual enrollment courses are absorbed by the high schools with only a minimal financial help from Yavapai College. It raises tuition and property tax rates at its discretion; something completely foreign to high schools.
The high school teacher receives only a few hundred dollars for teaching a college level course from the College. Certainly our $16 million is sufficient to subsidize $300,000 of the dual enrollment program it allegedly costs the College.
The challenging courses enhance high level thinking skills and provide incentive to advance beyond the high school level. The dual enrollment program results in a savings to County taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars! Transition from high school to college begins early and occurs conveniently in a familiar, comfortable environment.



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