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CWI hit a bond-vote dry hole, time for a new approach

CWI hit a bond-vote dry hole, time for a new approach

Fred Birnbaum
November 18, 2016
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November 18, 2016

Dr. Bert Glandon, president of the College of Western Idaho, recently sent an email to students and faculty. His message concerned a failed Nov. 8 bond measure, which asked Ada and Canyon county taxpayers to cover $180 million in new general-obligation debt via higher property taxes. The bond would have provided CWI with additional funds for campus construction. But, the measure failed, it did not garner the necessary 66.7 percent of the vote.

In his email, Dr. Glandon, sounded like the commander of a vanquished platoon, “In my conversations with staff, faculty, and students, it is apparent that the election has taken an emotional toll on many of us. First, I would like to encourage anyone in need of support to utilize the counseling services available at CWI.”

Related: See the full story at IdahoReporter.com. 

I’m not one to make light of another’s emotional turmoil, but losing an election or elections should not be cause for PTSD – especially for the current crop of college students. For starters, they don’t face a draft into armed conflict like many earlier generations of students – think, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam.

One short-term option that CWI should consider, before going back to voters with another property-tax-raising bond measure, is the private sector. For example, President Glandon referred to an earlier precedent where businesses and business foundations, like those of Micron and Albertson’s, supported CWI’s earlier facility renovation project. According to Glandon, the health-sciences facility is the college’s No. 1 priority. If so, why not approach major hospital systems like St. Luke’s and St. Al’s with requests for support? These medical facilities will benefit directly from more trained employees.

At the end of the day, simply stating that taxpayers should support such a large bond measure -- in order to get out of multiple leases and consolidate space -- is not a strong argument for local Idaho taxpayers, who have seen nothing but increases in property-tax levies for years.

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