New Directions for Maricopa Community College District
Written by Johanna Haver and Jean McGrath – Opinion Editorial
It is time for the Maricopa County Community College District to pursue a new direction – one of fiscal responsibility and transparency – both sadly lacking under the leadership of MCCCD Chancellor Rufus Glasper and the current MCCCD governing board members.
Over the past ten years, the college district has increased tuition 63% and property taxes to .128+%, which amounts to $128 per $100,000 valuation of a home. The budget for 2014-15 is in excess of $1.8 billion – considerably more than the yearly budget for the entire City of Phoenix which is at $1.2 billion. Moreover, Glasper plans to ask the MCCCD Governing Board to increase tuition again in January to pay for a budget that will likely exceed $2 billion.
According to a 2011 investigative report by the Goldwater Institute, less than 44% of the MCCCD general fund goes toward instruction. Moreover, that amount has been reduced in recent years, despite repeated directives from the board to cut administrative costs. In comparison, Arizona’s K-12 schools spend 56% on average for instruction.
Other MCCCD expenses include lobbyists and a political advisor who rake in more than $1 million per year. Administrative travel has been estimated at $5.3 million. The recent information technology breach fiasco, for which Glasper has fired a whistleblower and denied any wrongdoing himself, is costing the taxpayers $18 million and climbing.
A new article was recently published in Databreaches.net that calls for a congressional inquiry of the MCCCD security breach. The breach at MCCCD exposed the identity of 2.5+ million people for life. It could have been avoided as clearly shown in this timeline of events.
The MCCCD administration was warned multiple times by their employees and members of the community. They chose to ignore all warnings and scapegoat employees. Even at this juncture, MCCCD may still be at risk as disclosed in recent Governing Board minutes. If the 2011-2013 warnings were not enough, the MCCCD Administration and Governing Board still refuse to meet with employees and address remaining security issues presented to them as recently as April 2014.
Largest Security Breach in Education
In a recent development, the FTC has file a complaint against Wyndham Hotels for failure to protect consumer personal information. The MCCCD security breach is much larger than the Wyndham case and it goes to show that when it comes to consumer protection and privacy of information it does not matter whether an organization is private or public.
MCCCD is now dealing with a $6.25 billion class action lawsuit, the threat of potential bankruptcy, disgusted Board Members, future issues with bond ratings, employee attrition, drop in enrollment worth millions, stonewalling of the media, damage to its reputation in the community and millions of taxpayer dollars being wasted in lawyers. Whether education or private sector, a security breach is a security breach. If the FTC plans to hold those in private industry accountable, they should do the same in all industries.