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DMACC Board Chair: Our graduates touch the lives of every Central Iowan

Published: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 11:22 a.m. CDT

To the editor:

I am writing as a member of the DMACC Board of Trustees for 16 years. I have seen DMACC grow substantially to meet the needs of many additional students and the requests of businesses; expand its services to additional areas of the DMACC district; and, hold student debt in check by having the second lowest tuition in Iowa. Also, as a taxpayer, I am pleased DMACC has the lowest property tax rate of all 15 community colleges.

All Central Iowans will be going to the polls on Sept. 10 to show their support for DMACC and its students. Two DMACC levies will be on the ballot. They are not new taxes. They are a continuation of levies that have helped support DMACC for many years.

One is DMACC’s 20¼-cent Plant Fund Levy. This fund is used to maintain and operate educational and training facilities. The second, the six-cent Equipment Levy, funds educational equipment used to support the education and training opportunities for the more than 70,000 credit and non-credit DMACC students each year.

This vote on Sept. 10, while critical for the future of DMACC, represents a small investment for residents. Currently, DMACC has the lowest property tax assessment of all 15 community colleges in Iowa, generally less than 3 percent of your entire property tax bill.

The levies will be invested well. About one of every six Central Iowans has received instructions at DMACC and 95 percent of DMACC graduates stay in Iowa. The levies help DMACC deliver an affordable education for all its students. DMACC is the only option for many families with limited resources and for families new to Central Iowa.

DMACC is a valuable asset to Newton and surrounding communities. The Newton campus is not only the center for educating students of all ages, but has become the main center for our community meetings, service clubs, cultural events, private receptions, seminars, company retreats, and the list goes on.

When our community was hit with plant closures and layoffs, DMACC became the one that many displaced workers relied on to develop new skills for redirected career paths. Our Newton campus also houses a Career Academy that during the day is filled with high school students developing skills for exciting careers after graduation. After hours, these same facilities are offering credit and non-credit classes for personl and professional development.

DMACC graduates build our homes, fix our cars, care for us, protect us and seamlessly transfer anywhere they want to go to complete a four-year degree. Nearly all Central Iowa companies rely on DMACC for a part of their skilled workforce. As those companies grow, we need more skilled workers. DMACC will continue to deliver the quality services our communities have come to rely upon. I have the opportunity to see DMACC graduates each year as they graduate. DMACC makes a real difference in their lives.

Continued support for community colleges is a bipartisan issue, as both Republican and Democratic legislators joined together this year to support DMACC’s mission of educating and training Iowans for skilled workers.

Wherever you live or work in Central Iowa, chances are a DMACC graduate will touch your life today. To learn more about these levies, go to http://go.dmacc.edu/community. Please vote on Sept. 10.

Joe Pugel

Chairman

DMACC Board of Directors

Newton

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