CCC governing board wants to expand jobs programs

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The District Governing Board of Coconino Community College plans to ask voters if they choose to expand education and job training programs that could lead to better jobs for local high school graduates, workers and veterans transitioning to civilian life.

District Governing Board Chairwoman Patricia Garcia said, “We are constantly hearing that the key to improving our county’s economy is improving our workforce. We have been listening to our community. They like what we are doing, but they want us to do more.”

Local business and community leaders indicate they would like to see more skill-based training programs that prepare people for well-paying jobs in construction trades, manufacturing, automotive repair and other jobs that require specialized training beyond high school. Often, these are the same programs that veterans need to apply the skills they have learned in the military to transition to civilian jobs here in Coconino County.

District Governing Board Member Nat White said, “The College faculty and staff have been working hard to research the costs of such programs. We’re also working with community partners to learn how to creatively offer these programs as affordably as possible. However, it will take additional money to create new career and technical programs and to expand current successful programs like the College’s high-school-to-college and college-to-university transition programs. This is also about continuing and possibly expanding training for critical public safety positions that are always in demand, such as nurses, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and law enforcement personnel.”

Chairwoman Garcia said, “We’ve heard the needs and are developing solutions. That is why the Board voted unanimously this Wednesday to ask voters if they would support dedicating a portion of their property taxes to these programs. Taxpayers are currently paying $2 a month for an average home in Coconino County to pay off the 1999 voter-approved bonds that helped build the College’s main campus. The last payment for the bonds will be in 2019.”

The board is asking voters if they choose to pay approximately $3 a month for an additional seven years, but for a different purpose. That is equal to an approximately $1 increase per month for an average-value home in Coconino County.

In 1999, County voters approved 20-year bonds to build CCC’s buildings. After passage, a dedicated property tax was added to Coconino County residents’ property tax bills. In 2019, the bonds will be paid in full, and the College will have paid off its debt.

If approved by voters, the College will delay the new tax until 2019, after the bond payments end. The College does not plan to build any new buildings in the foreseeable future.

Instead of paying for buildings, the dollars would be used to create and improve effective, affordable job training programs, enhance instruction, expand high school to college programs, continue CCC to university transition programs, to enhance services throughout the county, and to provide lifelong learning programs.

The current property tax of $2 per month on average to pay off the bonds has not changed since 1999 and equals approximately $2 million per year from all Coconino County property taxpayers combined. The new amount, including the approximately $1 increase per month for an average home value in Coconino County, equals approximately $3 million per year from all Coconino County taxpayers combined.

Coconino Community College President Dr. Colleen Smith said, “The Governing Board wanted to keep the tax amount as low as possible, but to ask voters if they want us to provide additional affordable training and educational opportunities for Coconino County families and veterans. The goal is simple: provide access to more programs that lead to better paying jobs. Everyone in the county benefits from a safer community and a stronger economy, and the key to a stronger economy and a safer community is a well-trained, educated workforce.”


Wednesday, 29th June 2016

All Dates

  • Wednesday, 29th June 2016