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Renew SWCC’s facilities levy in the election

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 11:34 a.m. CST

In the school elections Tuesday, Sept. 10, voters in the Southwestern Community College district will have an opportunity to vote on an issue that is little known and little understood by most people, but one that is of vital importance to the continued mission of Southwestern.

The plant fund needs of Southwestern are partly funded by a facilities levy of 20.25 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This levy has been in effect since the founding of the college in 1966, and under Iowa law, its renewal must be approved by the voters every 10 years.

This levy cannot be used for general expenses, such as salaries, scholarships or other needs of the college. By Iowa law, it is only used to maintain, repair and renovate college facilities — facilities necessary to support Southwestern’s mission of preparing students to enter the workforce or for transfer to a four-year college or university.

We are proud to be employees of Southwestern, dedicated to the mission of training workers and leaders for the future. As pointed out on the Southwestern website, we average about 1,700 credit students each fall. We serve approximately 10,000 people enrolled in continuing education programs each year. We serve approximately 400 high-school students each year in our Arts and Science and Career Education programs. We have provided $23 million in business-training programs and have helped create 13,000 new jobs over the years thanks to those training programs.

Naturally, we couldn’t do any of this without safe, up-to-date facilities.

Many people forget about school elections. This year, we urge you to go to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 10, between noon and 7 p.m. to cast your vote in favor of the continuation of the Southwestern Community College facilities levy.

Remember, this is a renewal of a levy that has been in existence since 1966, not a new tax. It is vital to the mission of Southwestern Community College and the voters of merged area XIV, Southwestern’s merged area, have all approved all previous levies.

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