Our Board of Trustees’ decision last week to move forward with a capital referendum made it a very big week in the history of our College. A tremendous amount of planning and research has been done in recent years, and particularly in the last six months to provide our Board with as much information as possible to help inform their decision. I know that many in the room on Tuesday evening felt the magnitude of the decision and the importance this $66.5 million set of projects holds for the communities of our region.
As my colleagues and I have interacted with the media, various community groups, and governmental entities on the subject of the referendum thus far, the feedback and energy around this expansion has been good overall. Occasionally we hear of perceptions and sometimes outright limited understanding of FVTC’s role and responsibility in the region, which are of some concern to me. Thus our challenge in the months ahead will be to work to provide the public with information on the projects of the referendum, the related needs, opportunities, and the investment we’re asking them to make.
There are some things that we need to help clarify for people. Perhaps I can start by clarifying one point here. People in this region turn to us for many things, namely for their workforce training needs; yet, I’ve heard the question, “isn’t there some other way to do this rather than getting taxpayer support?” I wish there were some other way to make these needed facilities a reality. The fact is that our Board has the authority to finance and build new facilities only up to $1.5 million every two years at a designated campus per State statutes. Authority to build beyond that limit needs to come from voters across our primary service area: 5 full counties and parts of 4 others. A capital referendum is something that our Board doesn’t do lightly and has been done only once since the main campus was built in the early ’70s–the referendum of 1998.
I want to answer questions and clarify anything we can regarding the upcoming referendum question. To that end, I urge you to engage in the conversation, let me know of the questions you or others might have, and we will do our very best to provide answers and information that is helpful. Here is a link to our website with more information on our proposed referendum which will go to our voters on April 3: www.fvtc.edu/referendum.
Let me hear from you–is there something I can help clarify?