If you are registered in the Kent Intermediate School District you can vote YES on May 8th! Please visit the GRCC Yes website here to see if you're eligible to vote. If you're not registered to vote yet make sure you register by April 9th!
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The importance of Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) for West Michigan residents is known by most who live here. GRCC partners with many high schools and universities, and provides opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds by providing open access to education, GRCC has served over 500,000 residents in its 97-year history, and provides courses that cost nearly 75% less than a four-year university. Whether it is the Job Training program which assists in job placement in training for today’s workplace; an Associate’s degree for the job you want or to transfer to a four-year instution; or the variety of lifelong learning opportunities GRCC offer, GRCC works for everybody. The upcoming proposal on May 8th will expand GRCC's ability to serve the community and meet the demands of a rapidly expanding student body and West Michigan workforce.
What is the Bond Proposal For?
A bond proposal is a way for voters to approve the sale of bonds in order to create revenue for building improvements and technology upgrades and equipment for GRCC. (To learn more about how bonds work see the Wall Street Journal's Guide to Bonds). GRCC’s bond proposal is asking residents to support an increase to the current millage rate by an average of .35 mills. This translates into the owner of a home with a market value of $150,000 paying an average of just $26/year or $2/month. By renovating, rather than building new, this proposal could save GRCC- and the taxpayers- nearly $36 million. If this bond proposal passes, many necessary updates will be made at GRCC including:
- Renovations to the Main Building and Music Center
- Addition to the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center and a new home for the GRCC Child Development Program
- Investment in modern technology infrastructure
- Replacing heating and cooling systems
- Replacing fire suppression systems and fire alarms
- Improving classrooms
- Roof and window replacements
The benefits of these investments will create more sustainable infrastructure and reduce waste. By law, none of these dollars can be used to pay faculty or staff wages, benefits or the operations of the college. And more importantly, it will create the learning and teaching environments that will allow GRCC to continue serving this community for the next 100 years. Energy efficiency will improve, and renovations will increase the capacity of the college to continue serving the growing student population. Compared to other community colleges in Michigan, GRCC still operates on one of the lowest millage rates. To learn more about the millage, individuals can watch GRCC President Steven Ender discuss the facts by viewing this informational video.
Why GRCC in West Michigan
I took a few classes at GRCC because they were cheaper than taking a class at my four year alma mater. I loved seeing the diversity at GRCC - the young and old, the different ethnicities and clothing. It was such a different experience from my four year university. I also enjoyed its location in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. Sometimes I wish that I'd started my four-year degree at a community college due to the huge savings involved (some have estimated that two years at a community college can save a student $22,500- that's a lot of money!). I also recently discovered that GRCC provides training for water safety workers and firefighters in their facilities at no cost to tax payers.
Learn more about the campaign by checking out the official GRCC Yes Website.
I hope to see you at the polls on May 8th voting YES. Let's prepare GRCC for the next generation of students. As my dad always told me when I'd complain about homework, "People can take away your car, house, and clothes, but nobody can EVER take away your education." Let's make sure we keep it that way.
Disclosure: I am affiliated with the GRCC Yes! Campaign directly as an employee. The article is not necessarily endorsed by the GRCC Yes! Campaign but reflects my opinions.