PCC gets 5-year Air Force contract, omits probation

2014-08-03T22:00:00Z 2014-08-04T09:45:05Z PCC gets 5-year Air Force contract, omits probationBy Carol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

With the accreditation future of Pima Community College as yet undecided, the U.S. Air Force has signed a five-year contract with the Tucson school to train military paramedics.

PCC didn’t tell the service that the school is on probation when it recently submitted a proposal to train about 50 paramedics a year between now and 2018, the Arizona Daily Star has learned.

The school announced in a news release last week that it had won the Air Force contract valued at up to $1.8 million.

The Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission will decide early next year whether PCC can remain accredited. It put the college on two years’ probation last year over widespread problems with the school’s administration and governance.

PCC has made a number of improvements since then, but whether they’re enough to satisfy the accreditor won’t be known until the commission’s board meets in February.

The problems that landed the college on probation were not related to its paramedic training program. But all the school’s programs could be affected if PCC loses its accreditation.

In response to questions from the Star, the college confirmed Friday that it didn’t disclose its probationary status in its Air Force proposal.

The proposal said only that PCC is accredited by the commission — which is true since accredited status remains in place during probation — and didn’t mention the sanction.

The Air Force contracting official who oversaw the deal couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Dustin Tatum, of Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, asked the Star to submit questions in writing early Friday afternoon but did not reply to them by Friday night.

A PCC news release said the training will take place at its Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute, located on Tucson’s south side in the former Roberts Elementary School.

Contact the reporter at calaimo@tucson.com or 573-4138.

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