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Vote March 10 on WCC’s Proposal 1

If you’re looking for information about the WCC millage – Proposal 1 here are six really important things to consider when you vote today.

The WCC trustees want to avoid you.

The WCC trustees don’t want to bring requests for capital dollars to voters in the district. Instead, they prefer to divert “operational funds” to construction. This takes away money for student resources and commits the taxpayers to paying more than necessary for construction projects. It also puts the taxpayers at a greater risk, if WCC ever defaulted on these loans.

WCC uses this funding mechanism to build buildings that the campus doesn’t need and didn’t ask for. Investors like the buildings, but – as the Health and Fitness Center demonstrates – these “investor specials” are really expensive to maintain and don’t return real value to the community.

The WCC administration does not want you to know how they’ll use Proposal 1 money

The WCC administration wants you to believe that “operating funds” keep the lights on and pay the bills. They do that, but they also funded an enormous increase in the size of the WCC administration. Between 2012 and 2019, the size of the administration grew from 178 to 235. Meanwhile, the size of the faculty grew by 1%, and the size of the Custodial and Maintenance staff and the clerical staff decreased by 10.5% and 14.8% respectively. If you have time, take a moment to read about the new WCC website. That’s probably not what you thought you were authorizing the last time WCC asked for “operational funds.”

The WCC administration thinks you don’t care that they issued a $26M no-bid contract

At the request of the WCC administration, the Board of Trustees approved a $26M no-bid contract to outsource the College’s IT staff. The WCC administration thinks you don’t care that they sent $26M of your tax dollars to a Virginia firm, and fired 31 local residents. In addition, they spent another $2.5M to buy out the IT staff. To pay the buyout costs, WCC used instructional dollars. And the College now pays more for IT services than it did when it had an in-house staff. The WCC administration thinks WCC is “in a rich community.” I’m part of the WCC community, but I’m not rich – and neither are most residents here.

The WCC administration doesn’t take care of the campus buildings

Washtenaw County taxpayers give WCC enough money to perform required maintenance on the buildings. The WCC administration has made a habit out of spending that money on other things. As a result, the College has incurred enormous “deferred maintenance” costs. Additionally, 50%-70% of the $32M they intend to spend in the next three fiscal years on capital work will be used to remedy this neglect. And they’ll be borrowing this money from private investors at a higher interest rate.

The WCC administration and the Board of Trustees want to use Proposal 1 money to build a hotel.

The WCC master plan calls for the construction of a hotel and convention center. This is another maintenance nightmare just like the Health and Fitness Center. Worse, it’s not why we pay taxes to support WCC. Whether or not Washtenaw County wants or needs a convention center isn’t a question WCC needs to answer.

The WCC administration and the Board of Trustees aren’t being honest with you

The administration and the Board of Trustees want you to believe that WCC needs more revenue. In reality, WCC is operating with its largest ever budget. The WCC administration wants you to believe that the State appropriation has shrunk dramatically. In fact, it has risen. The WCC administration also wants you to believe that the student population will be shrinking permanently. In reality, the population is projected to increase by 10% in Washtenaw County in the coming years. They want you to believe these things because that’s their justification for building a hotel and seeking outside revenue. WCC does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem – one that isn’t being addressed by the Board of Trustees you’ve elected to represent you.

Photo Credit: Ryan Greenberg, via Flickr