(Dr Morris Beverage, President of Lakeland Community College, addressing the Mentor Rotary Club after modestly introducing himself as a “recovering accountant”)
Last year Lakeland’s original 1967 levy, a levy that has never been adjusted for inflation, was on the ballot for renewal. At that time, the college promised voters to take action in four areas if the levy were renewed.
Voters gave the college a vote of confidence by passing the levy, and Lakeland returned the compliment by keeping its four promises:
1. ESTABLISH A UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP CENTER to offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Lake County. The Lakeland Community College Holden University Center opened on August 27, 2011. This unique center allows a student to enroll at Ohio colleges around the state and earn a degree while staying close to home. Cleveland State University, Franklin University, Kent State University, Lake Erie College, Ohio University, The University of Akron, The University of Toledo, Ursuline College, and Youngstown State University have committed to offering degree programs through the Holden University Center.
2. HOLD TUITION CONSTANT AND AFFORDABLE for Lake County residents. For the 2011-12 academic year, tuition was frozen for in-county residents. As a result, Lakeland is about one-third the cost of attending a four-year school.
3. PROVIDE ADDITIONAL CLASSROOMS equipped to handle enrollment so we can turn fewer students away. Lakeland has already increased its capacity by adding classrooms in the Holden University Center, allowing the college to offer more sections of in-demand courses.
4. KEEP UP WITH RISING DEMAND for degrees in math, science and health care that lead to high-paying jobs. The Holden University Center boasts two science laboratories that enable the college to provide additional sections of much-needed courses in science and health care fields.
Passage of this year’s levy, Issue 5, is a renewal of a 1.5 mill, 10-year operating levy that will not raise taxes.
With renewal, Lakeland can continue to offer affordable higher education, keep operating efficiently and maintain up-to-date technology and labs.
Without renewal, the college will lose $8,000,000 each year for ten years.
It will be forced to make drastic cuts affecting the quality of the education it provides.
It will be forced to reduce the number of students currently benefitting from Lakeland’s high educational standards.
It’s time for another no tax increase vote of confidence from Lake County voters on Issue 5. In return, the community will get the usual priceless payback from Lakeland Community College.