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Central Iowans will impact the future of DMACC at school election

Published: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 12:14 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 4:47 p.m. CDT

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Every decade, two important DMACC levies appear on the ballot during school elections in September.

One is to continue the Plant Fund Levy used only for maintenance and operation of DMACC buildings and facilities, old and new. The other, a six cent levy, funds educational equipment for the more than 70,000 credit and non-credit students that DMACC serves each year throughout Central Iowa.

These are not new taxes and are not a property tax increase, but a continuation of the same levies that have been in place for many years, one since 1968 and the other since 2005. Critical to the future of DMACC, these levies represent a small investment for Central Iowans.

For the typical home owner who has a home assessed at $135,000, the cost for both levies is less than a gallon of gas – about $3.25 a month. That’s probably the best bargain one will find anywhere. Currently, DMACC has the lowest property tax assessment of all 15 community colleges in Iowa, generally less than 3 percent of anyone’s entire property tax bill.

It’s a small price to pay to maintain a quality post-secondary educational institution like DMACC. Now consider why these levies are important to Central Iowans:

• nearly one of every six central Iowans has enrolled in a course or a program at DMACC;

• ninety-five percent of DMACC graduates stay in Iowa after graduation, work, raise their families, and contribute to their local economy;

• DMACC is very affordable with the second-lowest tuition costs in Iowa, and the lowest in Central Iowa, providing quality education at an affordable price to students;

• there are many high-skill/wage jobs available in Central Iowa, and companies are looking for qualified applicants to fill those jobs from DMACC, which helps educate and train those needed workers;

• approximately 60 percent of all Iowa jobs require more than a high school diploma but not more than a two-year certificate or degree, and DMACC provides those middle-skill jobs that help keep our economy humming;

• by completing an Associate’s degree and transferring as a junior to the university of their choice, students can save up to 80 percent of the cost of the first two years of a baccalaureate degree, reducing student loan debt significantly and assuring students graduate in four years;

• DMACC provides high-quality training for Central Iowa companies by working directly with local businesses to meet specific industry needs.

DMACC had bi-partisan support.within the Iowa General Assembly this past legislative session to address Iowa’s growing need for highly skilled employees. These levies, which in the past have provided funding for construction of the Jasper County Career Academy in Newton, is another critical component of support.

Chances are a DMACC graduate will touch your life today. DMACC grads build our homes, fix our cars, care for us, teach our children, protect us, and own and manage our local businesses. Many of our graduates don’t end their education with their DMACC degree -- they seamlessly transfer anywhere they want to go to complete a four-year degree.

Nearly all Central Iowa companies rely on DMACC to grow and maintain a skilled workforce. DMACC will continue to deliver the quality services on which our local communities depend.

I have the privilege to meet and talk with DMACC graduates each year as they walk across the stage to receive their college degree. DMACC makes a significant difference in their lives.

DMACC is the community’s college. We support and change communities by providing a skilled workforce to maintain and grow business and industry; support families by providing educational opportunities for parents and their children to improve their skills and earning power; and change student lives by providing opportunities to pursue their educational dreams.

To learn more, visit http://go.dmacc.edu/community.

Again, these are not new or expanded taxes. These levies provide ongoing support to DMACC that has been in place for years and are an important part of DMACC’s success.

Please vote Sept. 10.

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