Dear Friends and Neighbors,
If you think the nightmare of the helicopter program at Dodge City Community College is settled and over, you are sadly mistaken. The program continues! The college has terminated its contract with our previous helicopter provider.
But, just when you think some common sense is starting to emerge, we sign a new agreement with a new helicopter provider in Chandler, Arizona.
The college board, in February, with a majority vote of 5-2, just agreed to lease building space in Arizona for $3,806 per month. The college is still spending over $100,000 in salaries annually for this program.
We have spent nearly $40,000 on attorney fees. We have been charged an additional $479,000 for attorney fees that are being paid by insurance. We have spent $175,000 on travel for this program. And even though the final amount is in dispute, the Veterans Administration right now says DCCC owes them 30 million dollars.
In all the years (2011-2019) there has been three Kansas residents and one Ford County resident go through the program. So far, this academic year, the helicopter program has cost Ford County taxpayers over $140,000.
That is money that could be spent in Ford County for the benefit of DCCC students but instead is being wasted on a failed helicopter program in Arizona. It has proven to be a program that has extremely little benefit for Kansas or Ford County students. (Or Ford County taxpayers for that matter.)
So, what can we do? I will continue to vote to end the program and end the waste of taxpayer money for this program. YOU can have conversations with those Trustees who continue to support the continuance of the program. They may try to tell you that if we end the program, the V.A. will be angry at us.
Our own Arizona attorney told us that continuing or discontinuing the program has NO connection with the amount the V.A. says we owe.
What if those Trustees won't listen to the voices of their constituents? Simple. If you can't change the mind of the person occupying the seat, then you change the occupant of that seat.
It's called democracy.
Good Spring and Happy Easter All, Dan Reichenborn, DCCC Trustee