While the cost of the May 22 election itself seems a major concern to commishes in Ada and Canyon Counties, GUARDIAN reader TIM RHODES offers up opposition to a proposed community college district. It requires a 2/3 approval.
By TIM RHODES
Creating a community college taxing district is a duplication of efforts and creates an unnecessary burden on the citizens of Canyon County. Despite its best intentions, government is less equipped to create and manage a community college system than the private sector.
I believe the State of Idaho, as well Canyon County, is creating an unnecessary tax and expenditure for a new community college when the need is already being addressed by private industry and the likes of Boise State University, Albertsons’ College, and Northwest Nazarene University. In addition, Treasure Valley Community College, Idaho State University, and the University of Idaho have campuses in the Treasure Valley.
Several private colleges have entered the area providing quality education and training: Stevens-Henagar College, Apollo College, University of Phoenix, George Fox University, and ITT Technical just to name a few. All are expanding their own campuses and offerings to meet the growing need.
There also are several quality training companies in the valley as well: Sylvan Learning, Executrain, Rocky Mountain Business Academy, New Horizons Learning, and Willamette Carpenters Training Center just to name a few. Employers are spending more money on developing internal education capabilities and on-the-job training opportunities, realizing they can train workers specific to the job at hand much more efficiently than outsourcing it to an external provider.
In addition, accredited online colleges and universities are proliferating. More than 80% of accredited U.S. colleges and universities have distance learning or non-residential degree programs, which can be completed via the Internet. In fact, Idaho currently supports a website (http://www.idahoe-campus.state.id.us) that assists potential students with finding the right higher education institution for Internet-based college courses and degree programs.
Private industry is more flexible to respond to the changing needs of the Treasure Valley’s higher education student. This is already being done with minimal cost to the taxpayer. In addition, private higher education institutions offer an understanding that the job market, like all markets, is competitive. As such, people respond by connecting their college degrees (and what they learn in classes) with where it will get them in the job market..
Finally, career centers at private sector-based education organizations can act as true complements of the college, connecting various courses and degrees to where the hiring is occurring and how that fits with local market conditions and job trends.
Ultimately, I also have a fundamental problem with paying additional taxes to fund a new community college that may or may not have a direct impact on my family and my community’s way of life. What is more, focusing on providing technical 2 and 4-year programs, which typically produce lower paying professionals, is not a plus to our community. The highest growing employment sector in our area is the service provider industry, which typically earns under $28,000 per year. We should be focused on providing quality education that produces graduates capable of attracting higher quality employers and jobs.
Private industry is handing the issue quite well. Let’s not create another tax and duplicate the efforts of private industry for the sake of increasing educational bureaucracy.
I will vote NO on the development of a taxing district in Canyon County.
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