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.