Since you and I share a love and concern for our County and our State, I wanted you to know that I have decided to run for a full term on the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees.
Johnson County Community College was founded in 1969 by visionary leaders who knew this County had great potential as a place to live, work, play and get an education. Like many pioneers, the folks who took on this project faced many challenges - why buy so much land in the middle of nowhere for $10,000 an acre? Well, again like good pioneers, the naysayers and negative voices didn't stop them, and they convinced Johnson County voters to establish JCCC at College and Quivira and to fund it with a dedicated property tax levy.
The value of their vision can be seen today. In fact, it could easily be said that their vision was too narrow, and that more ground for the growing campus would have been even better.JCCC is a comprehensive community college, touching over 33,000 credit and non-credit students each year. Its enrollment for the Spring semester of 2014was approximately 20,000 students. That makes it among the largest undergraduate campuses in Kansas!
A seven-member Board of Trustees is responsible for governance of JCCC, including selecting the college president, establishing the annual budget and tax levy, and creating the curriculum, rules and regulations that are necessary to operate a college of this size. The Board of Trustee members are elected in a non-partisan, county-wide election. On April 7 three positions of the seven will be before the voters, with the top three vote-getters being elected.
The past two years as a Trustee has been interesting and rewarding. The challenges that face our Community College during the next four years are formidable, but I am convinced they are matched by the opportunities.
The college operates on an annual budget of $140 million for school year 2013-2014 Its primary source of funding is a9.46 property tax mill levy paid by property owners in Johnson County. This rate means a property tax of about $258.95 on a $238,000 home.
The recent recession has hurt everyone, and JCCC is no exception. From the high property value in JC in 2008, we experienced a steady decline in valuation from 2009 – 2012, meaning less revenue is raised from the same levy rate. Although valuations stabilized in 2013, have slightly increased in 2014 and are projected to slightly increase in 2015, State aid remains a question and a financial planning challenge.
The challenge of doing more with less will continue for JCCC. The challenge of supporting our K-12 students to prepare for college through JCCC's curriculum is ongoing and there are opportunities for cooperation with the University of Kansas Edwards Campus, the new Kansas State University Innovation Campus in Olathe, and the many other private and public colleges in the county.JCCC must continue to work with Business Leaders to build upon the outstanding reputation we enjoy as a Learning Institute and Leader that provides for the needs of our Community, including a Superior and Dependable Resource for a Well Trained Workforce.
To continue the growth, reputation and success of JCCC, we need a Board of Trustees that operates with all of the college's stakeholders in mind. That means students, faculty, staff, visitors and the taxpayers of Johnson County. I hope you’ll agree that my business, civic, personal and political background have prepared me well for service as a Trustee. As a business owner, I understand the challenges faced by those who provide products and services and create jobs for hundreds of thousands in our county. As a husband and as a father, I understand the concerns of families – concerns about safety and values, education and maintaining standards of living.
I look forward to this campaign and the opportunity to serve the people of Johnson County for another four years.
For more information, please visit the Johnson County Community College website at www.jccc.edu.