The Yavapai College District Governing Board voted Monday, Sept. 12, to kill the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee, effective at the end of the month.

The committee was formed to represent our voice to the board, which is building new facilities in Prescott and Prescott Valley while promising less than

$5 million to the Verde Valley over the next 10 years even though it will reap over $12 million per year from us — $120 million — over those years. Outrage, threats of lawsuits and secession from the district prompted the committee’s creation. It was a tiny concession, but one that gave the board a list of local recommendations … which the board routinely ignored.

“Citing the valuable feedback provided by the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee over the past two years, the board voted to suspend the committee,” Yavapai College’s Marketing Coordinator Jennifer McCormack stated in a press release Wednesday, Sept. 14.

Thus, the board’s thinking is: “This is working so well … let’s kill it.” Apparently logic and deductive reasoning aren’t taught at Yavapai College. Nor is community relations. Nor political science.

Nor law: The vote happened not in public forum, but at a board retreat. It was not agendized, so it may also have been an illegal vote in violation of Arizona’s open meeting laws. We can leave that up to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to adjudicate, should any member of the VVBAC decide to file a formal complaint.

Governing Board members Deb McCasland and Al Filardo were surprised it even came up for an actionable decision, and promptly voted against the asinine proposal in defense of Verde Valley taxpayers.

“Formal recognition of the VVBAC’s work will take place at the November meeting,” the press release stated.

Lovely, Verde Valley taxpayers and students get kicked to the curb, but hey, at least we get cupcakes. Coming just days after the Verde Valley Forum discussed the future of secondary
education is not just bad policy, it’s a slap in the face.

The move to kill the one committee that has staved off a full-on lawsuit to remove the Verde Valley from the yoke of bad governance smells of Yavapai College President Penny Wills, who has done everything she can to marginalize our residents. If Wills had her way, the Verde Valley would be sliced out of Yavapai County. But, of course, Yavapai College still wants our tax money so instead starves us: Classrooms sit empty, local programs turn to vapor and students give up and attend other schools, which she can then point to as proof that we don’t deserve more.

The college claims online enrollment is growing, but that’s because Wills and the college refuse to add new programs here. So students have no choice but to go online. Proximity to physical classrooms is the one asset the community college has to play. If a Verde Valley student has the option for an online program, does Wills seriously believe Yavapai College is their No. 1 pick over online programs offered by Arizona’s three universities?

The VVBAC existed primarily to remind Wills and the three Prescott area board members that the Verde Valley is one-third of Yavapai County and we deserve at least one-third of the funding the college receives from our taxes, instead of the less than 10 percent the board has allocated over the next 10 years.

Former board member and longtime Verde Valley advocate Bob Oliphant warned the Governing Board: “If you want political war, you got it.”

The board has taken this prize show pony out back and shot it. If only public shaming, lawsuits and threats of secession will make Yavapai College board listen, then war it is.