By Chuck Vawter
A current proposal under review, by the MCCCD (Maricopa County Community College District) Governing Board, would increase property tax rates by 2% and tuition by $5 per credit hour. Given the bulging cash hoard of the District, this faculty member (and taxpayer) questions the logic.
On June 30, 2004, the District had unrestricted cash and investments totaling $166 million. By June 30, 2013, those unrestricted balances have exploded to $488 million. Those amounts have substantially the same claims (liabilities) against them today as they did in 2004.
Stated another way, the unrestricted net worth of MCCCD, which does not include plant and equipment,- has increased by approximately $320 million during the past nine years.
Why should the unrestricted net worth of a not-for-profit entity increase four-fold in less than one decade?
This increase in wealth was accomplished with funds provided by County taxpayers, students and employees of MCCCD.
The author is an Accounting faculty member at GCC who has been watching the finances of his employer for a number of years. The amounts found in this report are readily available from District records. Amounts from the Annual Report, including those cited above, are audited. They can be relied upon.
It is not a question of whether the money is there, it is a question of why is it there.
There is no publicly stated reason for this embarrassment of wealth. It baffles the author that this has been allowed to happen, with the blessing of the Governing Board, inside of a not-for-profit entity.
Even if there were a reason for doing so, it was done out of the pockets of students that have paid their fees and moved on. Shouldn’t fees that are paid receive commensurate services during the period they are paid instead of underwriting future generations?
The author will affirm that he is currently not a member of the District Faculty Association. Any opinions contained within this report are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the MCCCD faculty.
The author has presented himself to defend the students of MCCCD and the taxpayers of the County. Something, it appears, the Governing Board and Administration have failed to do.
Who will step forward and join the author?
The Auditor General’s Office is many times called in when there are funds missing from a governmental entity.
At the present time, there are funds missing – from the pockets of students and taxpayers. It would be most appropriate if the Auditor General were allowed to review the District’s records and express an opinion on the propriety of what has taken place.
If any party to this email would like to contact the author, feel free to do so at email@example.com.