FLAGSTAFF, AZ, September 28, 2010: The District Governing Boards and Presidents for the three northern Arizona community colleges: Coconino Community College (CCC) Northland Pioneer College and Mohave Community Colleges met with legislators at CCC’s Flagstaff Lone Tree Campus to discuss community college issues on Monday, September 27th. The meeting was the first ever involving the District Governing Boards from all three colleges.
The President of Coconino Community College Dr. Leah L. Bornstein said, “The meeting had broad bipartisan participation from legislators across the state.  We had excellent discussions about the challenges facing the State, community colleges, and the higher education system.”
Much of the discussion focused on a vision and direction for higher education in the state as well as a greater emphasis on performance based funding; and doing more with less at the state and college level.
The Grand Canyon Diploma program was also part of the dialogue. The Grand Canyon Diploma stems from a state-wide “Move on When Ready” program designed for high school students that meet college readiness standards at the conclusion of their sophomore year and want to take college credits while still in high school. With the Grand Canyon Diploma, students can earn an Associate’s Degree from their local community college upon high school graduation.
The Grand Canyon Diploma bill was recently proposed by House of Representatives Education Chairman, Rich Crandall, who was in attendance at the CCC meeting was signed into law on May11th of this year.
One topic of discussion that was not on the agenda, but was part of the dialogue involved a suggestion that there be a constructive collaboration between community colleges and the legislature to reduce some unnecessary regulation and paperwork imposed on community colleges by the state.
The legislators in attendance all agreed that access to community colleges is a key to Arizona’s long term economic well being.  The legislators also stated that they were very open to ideas and suggestions from community college District Governing Boards as well as community college leadership on collaborative efforts to find solutions that would help community colleges weather Arizona’s current budget crisis.
After the legislators departed, the DGB officials and the college president’s reconvened to discuss ideas on how they can work together to advocate for the region and improve efficiencies through collaborative efforts.
In addition to the DGB officials and college presidents, the Legislators in attendance included District 1 Senator Steve Pierce and District 5 Senator Sylvia Allen, District 2 Representative Tom Chabin, House Education Chairman Rich Crandall, and District 3 Representative Nancy McLain.
The meeting concluded with all stating that it was a valuable conversation and wish to meet annually.