Private Sector Fills Education Gap

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.


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 ( 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.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Mr. Rhodes makes many good points. Education is always a good idea but money is an object of great concern. The cost of the new governmental entity and the associated buildings, salaries and the sports teams that will follow will be too much for retired homeowners, a drain on small business and a duplicate of the other educational provides identified by Mr. Rhodes. I will vote no!

  2. This is so right! I too think that developing another state run institution is a waste of money. Caldwell has a branch of TVCC but that doesn’t seem good enough – we have to have a college in Nampa yet the largest population is in Ada County.

    The worst thing about this vote is that we are voting for the District and not the property tax levy. Once in place, who knows how much we’ll get taxed. And the author is absolutely correct – the private sector can meet the demand.

    I also will vote NO (and so will my husband).

  3. Candace Brown
    Mar 30, 2007, 12:57 pm

    Mr. Rhodes comments are very short-sided, especially for the minimial cost a community college would cost tax payers. The last figure I saw was less than $50 per year per household. Yes, there are many private insititutions – but, they are not nearly as affordable as a community college. I did some research and the cost of going to a community college is almost always half (if not less). And, I believe TVCC is a great community college – but, why do we want revenues going to Oregon? Plus, TVCC is not a comprehensive community college (in Idaho) – far from it. I think there is room for everyone. I have at least 7-8 friends who would like to get their nursing degress to fill the shortage in Idaho. But, they either couldn’t get into a 4-year program this past year. Or, simply couldn’t afford to get a nursing degree (at a 4-year or a private school). A local, state run community college would allow nursing students to pay half AND get a the same nursing degree in two years (vs. four). Establishing a community college in the Treasure Valley seems like a no-brainer. My family and friends say “yes” to a community college.

  4. Steve Ackerman
    Mar 30, 2007, 3:02 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with Tim Rhodes. He is telling Canyon County that they need to step back and consider the market that is already established (and growing) to address our education needs, instead of running headlong into an open-ended solution that could significantly burden taxpayers.

    Whether it is light rail, education, healthcare, and so on, we need to leverage the flexibility, creativity, and entrepreneurship of the private sector to resolve problems that are larger than a single county.

    It is not clear why Canyon, Ada, or any county should undermine the response we’re already seeing in distance learning, private schools, etc. merely to satisfy an immediate parochial desire. The workers of Canyon county need solutions, not additional tax burdens.

    As a resident of Kuna, I advise Ada county to take heed. I urge Canyon county voters to vote NO.

  5. “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.”

    Surely you jest.

  6. I vote NO also. Haven’t we seen enough waste of our tax dollars going for education.

    Someone should post the cost of just the admistration salaries. Overpaid, big retirement benefits, more medical than the private sector has. Sorry I’m sick of it all.

  7. Anyone who thinks the typical profit-motivated private technical school mentioned in this article is a better choice than a community college is frighteningly uninformed.

  8. John Lodman
    Apr 2, 2007, 4:38 pm

    The property tax rate authorized by HB 181 is 0.125%. This translates to $125 per $100,000 in assessed value. Of course, this is the maximum rate authorized. The trustees might choose to tax at a lower rate depending on the needs of the school. The trustees, at least the first set, will be appointed by the Board of Education.

    I would also point out that in addition to the schools posted in previous comments, Lewis-Clark (Lewiston), and CSI (Twin Falls) both have extensive vocational-technical course offerings.

    Finally, why is BSU so anxious to shed its community college roots? Why not continue to operate the Selland College under BSU? Instead, we’re going to end up with an entirely new bureaucracy. In additon, we’ll have an independent taxing district that answers to no one.

    I am pro-education right down the line, but this plan makes no sense on many levels. Vote No.

  9. As you read or listen to the many promotions for a community college in the valley, have you noticed that they are leaving many important questions unanswered?

    First off, voters have no say as to who will serve on the College Board. They will be appointed by another appointed board, the State Board of Education.

    This appointed board will establish a budget for the new school. Until that budget is set the property tax payers have no idea how much their property taxes will increase.

    We don’t know, for sure, what courses will be offered or how much tuition will be charged.

    Also, how many students will be siphoned off from the thirty or more private schools already operating in our community? This is another example of bigger government competing with private enterprise.

    Finally, just think of the fun students from Boise will have trying to maneuver the freeway to get to a school in Nampa during busy hours.

    I am suggesting we all vote “No” on May 22nd.

  10. I’m all for increased education but Tim Rhodes makes some indisputable arguments all backed up by facts.

    I read the article in today’s Statesman(5-2-07) on ” questions about a new community college” and really got a laugh.The statesman asks in #4-” What will a new community College cost the taxpayers?

    Would you,or any sane person believe their answer is ” No one knows!” I have never read such journalistic hype and insanity in my life! VOTE NO on a new community college and save yourself a pocket full of cash, Mr. taxpayer ( you’ll also be making a local developer get an honest job!)

  11. I too read the 14 questions in the Statesman and after some quick math here is the deal. Canyon County folks pay about $2,000.00 per $100,000.00 of taxable value as property taxes. State law limits the amount a community college taxing district can charge to an additional $125 per $100K of taxable value. If this measure passes you need to be prepared to pay the $125 per $100K. This will mean a 6.25% increase on the property taxes you already pay. We are getting the low-ball buyin on this deal and will get served up the full deal once this project gets rolling. CSI with all the brick and mortar paid for costs their local taxpayers $91/$100k of taxable value.

    TVCC currently serves about 1700 students in their Caldwell facilities at no taxpayer costs. All of the courses are funded by the people taking the courses. They are looking to expand offerings and expanding facilities to the Sky Ranch Business Park in Caldwell. TVCC is on the quarter system and an analysis of the costs put it on the same costing basis as the proposed community college deal that we are getting blitzed with.

    The cost of $120/unit computes to $1800/semester or $3600/academic year. TVCC is $1300/per quarter with three quarters per acacemic year. Slightly more. but at no cost to the taxpayers.

  12. You people are ridiculous. Boise is the only city of its size without a community college. If you want to have an educated, trained workforce, you have to pay for it through your taxes. Sure, this is not the best proposal but that’s because our legislature abrogated its responsibility to fund a community college. Thousands of students who are completely unqualified for college are admitted to Boise State since it is still charged with fulfilling a community college function. They then fail and this contributes to BSU’s high dropout rate. Students need a more affordable place to get the remedial classes that will allow them to eventually get the higher education they need. If there is a community college, they will get the help they need and this will allow Boise State to have the higher admissions standards necessary to become a university rather than a community college.

  13. Scott Borah
    Apr 19, 2008, 4:05 pm

    I just wandered onto this site by chance. I am related to Senator William E. Borah and just got back from meting with Senator Craig in Washington, D.C. I have been inquiring about a position where a community college would meet the needs of not only for those individuals who have specific careers requiring less than a four year degree, but for those who may want to transfer their credits to an university to eventually complete their bachelors and beyond ( sometimes the employer they work for because of their associate’s degree will pay for their advanced education.

    I Career Counselor, Academic Career Internship Director at the high school level in Indiana. It is amazing what a community college can do for a student who realizes that only 20% of jobs require a bachelor’s degree ( the same as the 1950s ) Our local Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne University (IPFW) has benefited from the Ivy Tech Community College existance and vice versa. More importantly the skill level and employability of those young people who would have just had a high school diploma or never complete their bachelors increased significally. Now talking about taxes as an outsider ( and I am a fiscal conservative republican )would be inappropriate. However, the tax revenue generated by those employed with an associate’s degree and the contributions they will make as they become lifetime learners and earners must be taken into account. Sincerely, Scott Borah

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