Advance in-person voting begins on October 23 in Johnson County, and Election Day is less than two weeks away on Nov. 2. As residents head to the polls to cast their ballots for JCCC Board of Trustees, we’ve put together an election primer to give people an easy way to find out where the candidates stand on the issues.
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Who’s on the ballot
Eight candidates are running for election to the JCCC Board of Trustees. They are:
Earlier this month, the Post published the candidates’ responses to the questionnaire we developed with reader input. The five questionnaire items are linked below:
Question #1: JCCC is requiring that masks be worn in most indoor settings on campus this fall. Do you agree with JCCC’s approach to COVID-19 mitigation this year? Do you support masking requirements? What, if anything, can or should JCCC be doing to encourage students and faculty to get vaccinated? Read answers here.
Question #2: Rising property taxes, caused in large part by increasing home valuations, continue to be a concern for many Johnson County residents. In recent years, the revenue JCCC collects from local property taxes has gone up even though the mill levy, or tax rate, has gone down. Should JCCC look to cut the property tax rate even further, in light of rising property values? In general, what is your philosophy on setting the college’s property tax rate? Read answers here.
Question #3: The pandemic has upended the regional and national economy. Many businesses still claim they are having trouble finding enough skilled workers, and many workers are either reluctant to go back to full-time work due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 or are re-evaluating their career choices. What role should JCCC play in developing Johnson County’s post-pandemic workforce? Read answers here.
Question #4: JCCC has opted to keep tuition steady during the pandemic. The current rate is $94 per credit hour for Johnson County residents. Revenue from tuition makes up less than one-fifth of the college’s total budget. Should the college consider raising tuition or lowering it? Why? And how would doing either of those things impact JCCC’s budget? Read answers here.
Question #5: Transparency with the college’s decision-making and the Board of Trustees has been an issue that has come up in recent years. Do you think the board is transparent enough in its processes? Why or why not? How can the Board and JCCC more broadly be more open and accessible to students, faculty and taxpayers? Read answers here.
The Post hosted an in-person forum for the JCCC Board of Trustees candidates on September 15. Video of the event is embedded below, followed by a summary of the topics they discussed and their corresponding time stamps to help readers find the candidates’ answers more quickly:
- Opening statements: the candidates introduce themselves and why they are running for office. Starts at 4:10
- What do you think is the most urgent challenge currently facing JCCC? And what steps would you take to help meet this challenge during your next four years in office? Starts at 14:00
- Enrollment has declined during the pandemic, accentuating a longer trend of falling headcount. The proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, for what it’s worth, projects another credit hour enrollment drop of 3%. What do you think needs to be done to ensure JCCC’s enrollment rebounds or at least stabilizes … and that the college remains an attractive option for students amid the challenge of the pandemic and beyond? Starts at 28:35
- JCCC gets most of its annual revenue — roughly 67% — from property taxes. Of course, rising property values, which are causing increases in annual tax bills, concern many Johnson County residents. JCCC in recent years has taken in more revenue through property taxes even though the Board has consistently voted to decrease the property tax rate. The proposed rate for this coming year is set to be slightly lower, but it is higher than the revenue neutral rate. What is your position on JCCC’s property tax rate? Is it where it needs to be or should it be lower? If you propose lowering the rate, how — if at all — would you make up for that potential loss in revenue? Starts at 42:50
- JCCC is requiring masks be worn in most indoor settings on campus this fall. This was a decision made by the executive policy group led by President Andy Bowne and not by the Board of Trustees directly. Do you agree with JCCC’s approach to COVID-19 mitigation this academic year? And how do you think the pandemic could impact the campus experience going forward? Starts at 56:45
- What is the current or future project, proposal or idea you have that you are most excited about and why do you think it’s important for JCCC’s future? Starts at 1:09:35
- Closing statements start at 1:15:10