From gazettextra.com: “Forward Janesville supports Blackhawk Tech referendum” — Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

 

Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140713/beloit_organizations_support_blackhawk_technical_college_referendum#sthash.35OiRFsx.dpuf

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140722/forward_janesville_supports_blackhawk_tech_referendum#sthash.Wg5uTHh9.dpuf

 

Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140713/beloit_organizations_support_blackhawk_technical_college_referendum#sthash.35OiRFsx.dpuf

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140722/forward_janesville_supports_blackhawk_tech_referendum#sthash.Wg5uTHh9.dpuf

 

Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140713/beloit_organizations_support_blackhawk_technical_college_referendum#sthash.35OiRFsx.dpuf

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140722/forward_janesville_supports_blackhawk_tech_referendum#sthash.Wg5uTHh9.dpuf

Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140713/beloit_organizations_support_blackhawk_technical_college_referendum#sthash.35OiRFsx.dpuf

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140722/forward_janesville_supports_blackhawk_tech_referendum#sthash.Wg5uTHh9.dpuf

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From beloitdailynews.com: “Blackhawk Tech: More info needed before pursuing referendum efforts” — Those responding to a recent survey mailed out on behalf of Blackhawk Technical College want more information before they can decide if they support a referendum for a tax increase.

More information needs to be provided on how the college is funded through local taxpayer dollars, tuition and state aid before moving ahead with a referendum, according to a news release from Blackhawk Technical College.

“The community survey has told us that we are vital in preparing today’s students for career success and that we play a critical role in providing the highly skilled workforce our communities need to grow and prosper,” Dr. Thomas Eckert, president of Blackhawk said in his message to the District Board on Thursday evening.

Blackhawk Technical College recently mailed a survey to 8,000 taxpayers in Green and Rock counties to seek input on pursuing an April referendum.

“However, it was clear that many of our respondents are unable to explain BTC’s operational budget,” Eckert said, “We feel more comfortable taking time to increase public understanding so voters feel more informed to make a decision.”

Officials from BTC say that because of reduced state aid, state revenue caps in place since 2010 and current cost projections, a shortfall of approximately $3.5 million is predicted for its 2014-2015 budget. Since 2010, Blackhawk has reduced annual operating expenses by more than $2.3 million.

“It was impressive to learn how many residents the college has impacted,” Bill Foster, President of School Perceptions, said in his report to the BTC District Board, “In fact over 50 percent of the respondents have attended at least one class at BTC.”

The BTC District Board will review the necessary reductions later in the spring. A referendum in the 2014 fall election is still under consideration.

A recent legislative change now permits technical colleges to seek funding support from their district communities through an operational referendum.

In November, the BTC Foundation hired School Perceptions LLC to conduct the surveys and assist in data gathering. School Perceptions is based in Slinger, WI, and is recognized for its expertise in gathering information that aids education institutions and their policy boards in their public policy pursuits.

Blackhawk Technical College is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System. BTC has five campus locations in Monroe, Beloit and Janesville, Wis. offering more than 50 programs including two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas and short-term technical diplomas. In addition, BTC is a major provider of customized training and technical assistance for the Rock and Green County business community. More than half of all adults living in Wisconsin have accessed the technical colleges for education and training during the last decade.

From gazettextra.com: “Voters reject $49 million measure for Gateway” — ELKHORN — Voters in Walworth and two other counties rejected a $49 million bond measure for Gateway Technical College in Tuesday’s election.

The money would have funded a number of expansion and renovation plans at Gateway’s three campuses, one of which is in Elkhorn.

It also would have meant a $9.73 increase in annual property taxes for each $100,000 of assessed value.

Elkhorn, Kenosha and Racine counties all needed to approve the referendum for the college to go ahead with its plans.

None of them did, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.

Upgrades planned for the Elkhorn campus included improving what Dean Michael O’Donnell said is an outdated building and expanding programs.

Because the referendum failed, Gateway President Bryan Albrecht said the college now must decide which projects it can do with limited funding and which will be pushed back.

“We of course will not be able to do all of them, and some of them may be put on the back burner for many years,” Albrecht said.

That likely means the Elkhorn campus will not be able to offer more classes in fields such as welding and computer numeric control as it planned, Albrecht said.

A public safety training center that would educate first responders from around southern Wisconsin will also be shelved, Albrecht said.

Albrecht said the election results were disappointing, but he vowed to keep demonstrating Gateway’s value.

“We’ll continue to be strong advocates … and make sure that the community realizes what their tax dollars are doing,” he said.

From postcrescent.com: “Upgrades moving forward at FVTC” – Last April, residents approved a referendum totaling $66,525,000 that authorized Fox Valley Technical College to expand facilities.

Behind the referendum was a growing demand for training that current facilities are not able to meet, said Chris Jossart, spokesman for the college.

He said that FVTC fills a vital role in providing skilled workers needed by regional employers to stay competitive. In addition to proving themselves, Jossart said, “the program areas involved have been through a rigorous analysis of industry growth projections.”

Construction on the health simulation and technology center began already last October. Spring will see the start of construction on the public safety training center and the student success center, as well as expansions of the agriculture center and the J. J. Keller Transportation Center. The projects have varying completion dates, starting with fall of this year and continuing through spring of 2015.

A little more than half the funding will be spent on the Public Safety Training Center, the flagship project of the referendum.

“The 93,000 square-foot facility, created in partnership with the Outagamie County Regional Airport, will address capacity needs for training in law enforcement, fire protection, and emergency medical services,” Jossart said.

The health technology center will open first, Jossart said, welcoming students at the min campus in Grand Chute this fall.

“The center will allow students from several programs to better use human patient simulators to prepare for realistic health care and emergency situations within a virtual hospital setting,” he said.

The student center project will provide needed space for supplemental instruction, tutoring, and academic support, Jossart said. The central core of the main campus will be remodeled to create the center, he said.

Space for vehicle inspection and maintenance was behind the expansion of the J.J. Keller Transportation Center, Jossart said. The expansion also allows the college to accept more students.

There is a waiting list, and demand from employers is high for truck driving, diesel technology and automotive technology graduates, he said. The public safety training center is expected to alleviate some of these challenges, too.

An 87 percent jump in enrollment in the last four years in agri-business, the state’s largest industry, required expansion of the agriculture center, Jossart said.

The public referendum also included the purchase of land in Oshkosh and buying the college’s Chilton Regional Center, which was formerly leased, to accommodate future program and campus growth. The Chilton purchase freed up operating dollars to build a small expansion made necessary by enrollment growth of 36 percent since 2008.

Jossart said later this year there are “a number of initiatives to enhance our partnership with K12 education systems to prepare young learners for the skills today’s employers need.”

Statewide, he said, employers are seeking professionals with two-year degrees to a greater extent than ever before.

“We are strategically developing new directives to guide the next generation workforce,” he said.

 

From kenoshanews.com: “Gateway to take $49 million plan to voters” — A new campus building would be planned for Gateway Technical College to house a public safety and training center if voters approve a $49 million referendum in April.

Officials have been looking at possible sites for the facility in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties, said Zina Haywood, college vice president and provost. The Gateway district includes those counties.

The goal is to build the new campus in the center of the district, she said.

The college board on Monday approved putting the referendum on the ballot.

Haywood didn’t have the estimated number of acres for the site. She did say the location would be home to the 30,000 square-foot public safety building with facilities including a driving track for emergency vehicle operators to practice and a mock city street for responders to act out emergencies, at a cost of $15.5 million.

The building would include classrooms, an indoor shooting range and a technical lab.

The referendum question, on the April 2 general election ballot, would ask district taxpayers to approve borrowing to pay for the new campus and other projects. Voters must give their approval for going into debt by $49 million because the school is at its borrowing limit, officials have said.

Haywood said the tax increase from referendum approval was estimated to be $9.73 on a $100,000 home each of the next 20 years.

The anticipated additional cost to operate the new and expanded facilities was about $390,000, Haywood said. That spending will have to come from budget cuts or increased income other than taxes because the state has frozen all 16 state technical colleges’ operating budget tax levies, she added.

Kenosha campus projects would total $7.8 million and include renovations for academic support services; adding a studio for the interior design program, and making way for the district’s barbering program to expand onto the campus.

The borrowed money also would pay for:

— Elkhorn campus construction for new or expanded programs for veterinary technician, barbering, cosmetology, culinary arts, food manufacturing lab and computer numerical control students, $13.6 million.

— Racine campus work to house the fresh water lab, now on the college’s Sturtevant site, and renovating office space, $2.5 million.

— Districtwide energy projects and expansion of the administration center, $7.3 million.

Officials have said the public safety center is needed because police science classes are being taught in a former welding lab, and high-speed pursuit techniques are practiced at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park parking lot.

June 2013 would be the earliest any projects might begin. The public safety center is the largest effort and could take 18 to 24 months to complete, Haywood predicted.

The Wisconsin Technical College System Board will review the plans for its approval at its March meeting.

Gateway has three sites in Kenosha, two in Burlington and one each in Racine and Sturtevant.

 

Western referendum passes

November 7, 2012

From lacrossetribune.com: “Western, North Side school referendums ride high on local support” — Voters appeared to back Western Technical College’s plan to add students and update facilities with a strong showing of support Tuesday for the school’s $79.8 million referendum.

By early this morning, 53.4 percent had voted “yes” with 202 of 211 precincts reporting.

The money will fund six building projects, including remodeling of the college’s technology building and the Coleman and Kumm centers. The extra learning space will allow Western to serve an additional 1,000 students by 2020. It will also benefit the region’s economy, Western President Lee Rasch said.

“There is a skilled worker shortage, and it’s in manufacturing and information technology,” Rasch said. “Those are really key areas for us.”

Property taxes will increase by about $39 a year on homes worth $100,000.

The referendum covers:

  • $32.6 million for an addition to the technology building to combine the school’s mechanical and tech programs.
  • $26.5 million remodel of Coleman Center to update the 89-year-old space with more efficient, flexible learning areas.
  • $10.1 million remodel of the Kumm Center, for new health and science facilities.
  • $4.9 million for a parking ramp
  • $4.1 million expansion of Western’s diesel training facilities.
  • $1.6 million for a greenhouse near Seventh and Vine street

Western’s growth will have a $97 million impact on the regional economy by 2034, according to an economic report by NorthStar Consulting Group. Construction alone will have an estimated economic impact of $112 million by 2016.

“It’s going to make a difference,” Rasch said.

West Salem resident Bob Severson, 59, said he supported the referendum because the changes will help people learn valuable workplace skills.

“I went there myself and I think that’s going to be the crux of getting the right training,” Severson said.

Western will borrow the money for the building projects, adding to existing debt of about $58 million.

Wisconsin technical colleges can’t use referendum dollars for operating costs – unlike school districts — so they are less frequent. Western’s last referendum was more than 15 years ago, when 64 percent of voters agreed to pay for a $3 million chunk of the city’s Health Science Center.

A wave of support at the polls Tuesday also appears to have pushed through La Crosse School District’s $15.7 million referendum for a new North Side elementary school.

Voters in the La Crosse School District approved a building referendum. Final numbers show 21,494 yes votes to 10,424 no votes.

A new school will house teachers and students currently split between two aging facilities. Officials plan to build the new facility at 1611 Kane St., where the old Franklin Elementary School building stands.

“It’s going to mean a lot for our community, not just for the North Side,” Superintendent Randy Nelson said.

Taxpayers in the district could pay about $25 more on a home worth $100,000.

The prospect of higher taxes inspired 75-year-old La Crosse resident and retiree Kay Weldy to vote against the referendum.

“The taxes are too high as they are,” she said.

Franklin combined with Roosevelt about three years ago, and both run under the same administration, with grade levels divided between the two buildings.

Roosevelt, built in 1923, is the oldest school building in the district. Builders used clay tiles in the 1955 construction of Franklin, which has led to continual structural problems for the school.

Both buildings were slated for about $6 million of work, including about $2 million already bonded for heating and ventilation upgrades. Officials agreed to opt out of the bonded funds if voters passed today’s referendum.

The new building saves the district about $200,000 in operating costs each year.

Shelby resident David Loeffler, 63, said he voted “yes” on the referendum because he to ensure a quality education for future generations.

“I have a grandson and I want to make sure he gets everything he can,” Loeffler said.

Similar referendums in 2004 and 2008 failed to pass muster with voters, but this is a different time — when the community appears be favoring neighborhood revitalization in the wake of recent economic struggles, Nelson said.

“Things have changed,” he said.

From lacrossetribune.com: “Western Technical College to ask area voters for $79.8 million” — Western Technical College officials will ask voters to approve a $79.8 million referendum in November to help pay for future building projects.

College officials approved a measure Monday that will put the referendum on the general election ballot for voters in 11 western Wisconsin counties to consider. The extra money would be a key part of the college’s strategic plan to add students, become more efficient and improve the pathway between classroom and workplace, Western President Lee Rasch said.

“How do we serve more people when we don’t have operating dollars?” Rasch said. “This is our overall strategy.”

The referendum would allow Western to issue bonds for more funding, even as the college loses money to tightened state budgets. Western eliminated jobs and programs last year to compensate for about $2.3 million in state budget  cuts.

“The reality is the funding isn’t falling there,” Rasch said.

Here’s how the referendum would work:

If passed on the Nov. 6 ballot, property owners would see a tax increase — $3.25 monthly for a $100,000 home, or $39 a year.

Money from bonds would help foot the bill for six building projects, including an addition and remodeling of the technology center and renovations of the Coleman and Kumm centers. A new parking ramp also would be funded by the referendum, along with a greenhouse and an expanded space for the college’s diesel training program.

Construction would start in June 2013, officials say.

Adding two floors to Western’s technology building would make the structure a flagship for the college, Rasch said. The project’s $32.6 million price tag would pay for an energy-efficient facility with learning spaces that mimic the workplace. The new building would be large enough to house technology classes under one roof.

The $26.5 million remodeling of Coleman would give the outdated building newer classrooms for general instruction, Rasch said. Coleman was built in 1923 and last remodeled in 1971. The new Coleman would be safer and more energy-efficient, officials say.

While the ground level of Kumm has an updated kitchen and dining area, the upper floors would be renovated with $10.1 million for health and science classes.

“The buildings are old and the ways of education are changing,” Sally Lister, a Western board member who voted in favor of the referendum. “We’ll be able to make better use of the space that we have.”

Western’s strategic plan calls for more than new buildings. By 2020, officials hope to add 1,000 students, cut energy costs with efficiency projects and make programs more flexible to better meet the skill-training needs of students and employers.

The referendum would allow Western to grow in the face of budget cuts, officials say.

“This is the only way we can upgrade buildings on campus,” Lister said.

Rasch said the referendum could have a significant impact on the local economy as Western improves its ability to train a contemporary workforce.

“We’re not suggesting to wait for someone else to solve this,” he said. “We can do this on our own.”

Western officials will still follow the strategic plan if voters nix the referendum, but it will be hard to do with no projected increases in state funding, Rasch said.

“Then we just have a much steeper hill to climb,” Rasch said. “We realize that what we’re really asking for is the voter support on the facilities, but we’re asking them to consider it in light of the total plan.”

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