Graham County Community College District seeks voter approval to adjust spending limit without increasing taxes

THATCHER, Ariz. – The Graham County Community College District Governing Board has moved to ask voters to update a 1980-established spending limit that affects Eastern Arizona College’s ability to provide comprehensive education services. The proposed revision would double the decades-old base expenditure limit from approximately $4.5 million to $9 million, enabling Eastern Arizona College to utilize funds it already has without a tax increase for residents.

In 1980, Arizona voters approved a constitutional amendment setting an annual expenditure ceiling for community colleges and other governmental entities. This measure, while intended to ensure fiscal responsibility, now poses a significant challenge due to the changing educational landscape and inflationary pressures. The limit is currently calculated based on expenditures from fiscal year 1979-80.

“The proposed adjustment is crucial to sustain EAC’s mission of providing affordable and flexible education, especially considering the additional programs and services introduced since the original limit was set,” said Jeff Larson, chair of the Graham County Community College District Governing Board. “This measure ensures that EAC can allocate the funds it already has, without additional cost to our taxpayers.”

If voters approve the adjustment set for the 2024 General Election in November, Eastern Arizona College will be able to maintain and expand its educational offerings, including affordable baccalaureate degrees and programs aiding high school students. Conversely, failure to adjust the base will necessitate immediate and significant cuts in educational programs and services, spelling an end to the College’s ability to attract students and staff that are necessary to ensure its continued operations. This scenario will likely lead to the closure of EAC’s campus.

“The 1980 expenditure limitation policy acts as a safeguard for government spending, ensuring that taxpayer funds are managed properly,” Larson stated. “By prompting a voter decision on financial restructuring, it is doing what it was set up to do. For Eastern Arizona College, this decision is crucial; if the expenditure limit is not adjusted, it will necessitate significant operational changes that will jeopardize the future of our campus.”

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About Eastern Arizona College:

Since 1888, Eastern Arizona College has been the undisputed Smart Higher Education Destination, shaping student dreams into reality. With a faculty of qualified and caring instructors, EAC is committed to preparing students for high-demand careers and advanced studies at top universities.

Offering a diverse range of over 90 degrees and certificates and two bachelor’s degrees, EAC is home to the state’s premier nursing school, a fine arts program featuring Arizona’s only community college marching band, and an engineering program that equips students for success at top-tiered firms and universities.

Beyond academics, EAC is a vibrant community where students thrive, forging connections that last a lifetime. At EAC, students can live in on-campus housing, engage in over 30 clubs and organizations, participate in dynamic intramurals, and cheer for nationally ranked athletic and e-sports teams.

What sets EAC apart is its commitment to financial accessibility, allowing most students to graduate with $0 debt.

Choose EAC as your Smart Higher Education Destination. For more information, contact or call (928) 428-8272.