Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

September 6, 2013

Support DMACC Levy 3

Jim Mitchell

Knoxville — To the Editor:

I read your hit piece on the upcoming vote to continue the tax levy for DMACC and would like to correct your “facts”. The first point you make is that there isn’t a DMACC campus in Knoxville and there will never be one. There is a DMACC campus in Knoxville. It is an integral part of an existing Knoxville Community School building. It has a director and a full slate of class offerings for Knoxville High School students and adult learners in the community. This campus allows high school students to acquire college credits during high school at a substantially reduced cost. These credits transfer to most universities and reduce the overall cost of a college/university degree. Many students enter college near a sophomore level. Enrollment in the Knoxville campus is up significantly from last year and is at an all-time high. Rob Denson, DMACC president, has repeatedly said they will support building a stand-alone campus as soon as the commitment from the area schools is there. As an example, Pella Community Schools made that commitment, passed a bond issue, and will start construction on their Career Academy very soon.

The second point you try to make is that your taxes will go up if this levy is passed. The current DMACC tax levy is 25.26 cents per $1,000 valuation. Renewing the levy does not change this. Renewing the levy will not raise your taxes! If your taxes go up, it is because the county assessor has raised the valuation on your property. There is another avenue to deal with that issue and it has nothing to do with this vote.

You also try to make the point that DMACC doesn’t really need this money since the legislature can just appropriate them more money if the levy is defeated. Are you serious? The legislature has a magic money wand and can make money appear for whatever they think is appropriate? I suppose you also think we should repeal the SILO (School Improvement Local Option) tax that funds physical plant and equipment improvements in Iowa school districts. The magic money wand could fix that too.

Anyone that has high school seniors and/or college age kids knows the cost of college is crushing students. DMACC offers a fantastic alternative to achieve an associates’ degree at nearly half the cost of a state university. With the agreements in place all the credits can transfer to a state university and the student enters the state university as a junior. Another opportunity DMACC offers is to students who are looking for a technical education such as auto tech, welding, CNC machining, nursing, etc. All these degrees require many hours of hands-on experience in brick and mortar structures to help Iowa businesses meet today’s workforce challenges and grow Iowa jobs.

Without world-class facilities we cannot have world-class graduates. I urge you to support the levy as it is a valuable tool in training and teaching the next generation. 

Jim Mitchell