Toledo Talk

Owens Community College

A friend of mine who works at Owens said hat they've hired a consulting firm to investigate and assist with the possibility of having the college request additional funding through a levy at some point in the not so distant future. There was a college-wide meeting held to introduce the consulting company and a breakout session to discuss thoughts on the matter. I haven't seen anything in the news about it.

I don't see this as having a chance, but maybe it's because I can't see myself ever voting to allow it.

created by OnePlainPerson on May 24, 2014 at 10:16:36 am     Local-Politics     Comments: 29

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With the continual cuts in state funding and a demographic drop in the number of traditional straight-from-high-school students for the next few years, I am not surprised that the leadership of Owens is seeking a levy.

However, I suspect that support for such a levy would be limited. Many people in NWO do not want to support public school, zoo, and bus levies, so a brand-new levy (to me) seems doomed.

The Cleveland area's Cuyahoga Community College, though, is partially supported by a regional levy, so this idea is not without precedent.

posted by historymike on May 24, 2014 at 10:38:02 am     #  

I also think that the recent negative publicity about the Owens nursing program will not help the cause for a levy.

posted by historymike on May 24, 2014 at 10:39:52 am     #  

As an Owens alum (2012) and a UT 4yr alum (1995) I can say that I would most definitely support a levy. I received a solid Associates Degree in Applied Science (horticulture - Landscape and Turf grass Management) from Owens that left me well prepared for the workforce. I was immediately employed for my internship, am employed now and frequently receive job local offers. There are jobs not filled in my discipline that pay well and are full time. Some are for only nine months, some are year around. You get a big bang for your tuition buck from Owens.

They can work with adults who are changing careers. They can work with high school students who struggled academically, and through mentoring and tutoring, get them up to speed, matriculated and employable. I've witnessed it.

Owens Community College is a community asset. Support it.

posted by holland on May 24, 2014 at 07:21:18 pm     #   2 people liked this

Why are you people so willing to take more money from my hard earned paycheck because you've decided to change your career? I don't have extra money to support you too. Why would you even ask me to?

posted by SherryET on May 24, 2014 at 11:38:25 pm     #   2 people liked this

I don't see why Owens needs a levy.

It bills itself as a better alternative to larger schools.

Why can they not balance their books without a levy?

I disagree with holland. I don't view it as a community asset if it takes money away from the community. How do I benefit from Owens CC being that I don't go to school there? So an Ottawa County resident can go to Owens on a cheaper tuition although my Lucas County taxes are paying for it is a benefit to me? How?

Seems to me if it's such a value as it bills itself to be it should either cut costs or look to community businesses to sponsor more scholarships for LC residents.

I think there are better ways to solve this problem. Too many organizations already knee jerk to the taxpayers to resolve their budgeting woes.

posted by MikeyA on May 25, 2014 at 01:15:38 am     #   1 person liked this

So an Ottawa County resident can go to Owens on a cheaper tuition although my Lucas County taxes are paying for it is a benefit to me? How?

Perhaps in the same way that a Lucas County resident could go to Owens even though a Wood County resident's taxes would be helping support it...Owens is in Wood County.

How do I benefit from Owens CC being that I don't go to school there?

Perhaps in the same way that good public schools benefit you, even if you don't attend them yourself and/or your children are grown. Community assets improve the quality of life for a community, and can have several economic rewards, such as increased property values--or in the case of Owens, a more educated work force. There are more common facilities and institutions that benefit you directly or indirectly than you'll ever be aware of, whether you use them or not. There can be research done to determine if Owens is producing a satisfactory R.O.I.

All hypotheticals at this point. Nothing has been announced; and even if/when it is, as has been demonstrated here, it's likely to be a longshot.

posted by Sohio on May 25, 2014 at 06:15:37 am     #   3 people liked this

"Owens Community College is a community asset. Support it."

holland, who decides what a community asset is?
And how far out (50 miles? 100miles?) is it an asset?

And Findlay has a nice campus, they need to figure into the equation too.

posted by Molsonator on May 25, 2014 at 07:35:56 am     #  

If it is a community asset, the new director of institutional advancement (Not sure who they hired, but the job was posted a couple of months ago) at $90,000-$107,000 a year may be able to impact their non-tuition revenue soon.

Hopefully they try philanthropy with the impassioned supporters before they force donations from the ambivalent.

posted by justread on May 25, 2014 at 07:49:45 am     #  

They wouldn't be "donations," it would be taxes. And it wouldn't be forced, it would be voted on.

posted by Sohio on May 25, 2014 at 07:53:04 am     #  

Sohio posted at 07:53:04 AM on May 25, 2014:

They wouldn't be "donations," it would be taxes. And it wouldn't be forced, it would be voted on.

For those who vote no, it would be forced.

posted by MrsArcher on May 25, 2014 at 08:00:33 am     #   4 people liked this

I agree that Owens is a community asset. I disagree that community assets should be supported with property tax levies. Owens already is supported with tax dollars as a state institution. Why isn't that enough?

Apparently there are some community colleges that get levy money in addition to state money. But what is so special that these schools need more public money where as the rest of the CC live within their means?

They are probably trying to figure out how far they can go on a levy, to make it a smaller levy. Smaller levy, more likely to pass. I wonder if a multi-county levy has to pass in total or does each county have to pass is? Can lucas county force wood, Ottawa, etc to 'pass' a levy just like Toledo does with TARTA.

You can justify any tax levy on its own, but collectively the burden is too high.

posted by MrsArcher on May 25, 2014 at 08:10:15 am     #  

Sohio posted at 07:53:04 AM on May 25, 2014:

They wouldn't be "donations," it would be taxes. And it wouldn't be forced, it would be voted on.

Property taxes imposed on those who pay them by those who do not is perhaps not the best illustration of the "fairness" and equitable representation of voting.

posted by justread on May 25, 2014 at 08:10:15 am     #   3 people liked this

MrsArcher posted at 08:00:33 AM on May 25, 2014:
Sohio posted at 07:53:04 AM on May 25, 2014:

They wouldn't be "donations," it would be taxes. And it wouldn't be forced, it would be voted on.

For those who vote no, it would be forced.

No it wouldn't.

As stated before, you are free to move to another location, where the tax situation is more to your liking. Wherever you live, you accept the structure that is voted on by the citizens.

posted by Sohio on May 25, 2014 at 08:12:34 am     #   2 people liked this

justread posted at 08:10:15 AM on May 25, 2014:
Sohio posted at 07:53:04 AM on May 25, 2014:

They wouldn't be "donations," it would be taxes. And it wouldn't be forced, it would be voted on.

Property taxes imposed on those who pay them by those who do not is perhaps not the best illustration of the "fairness" and equitable representation of voting.

It's not perfect. But it works better than any other system I know of.

posted by Sohio on May 25, 2014 at 08:14:14 am     #  

Unless it has to do with who can marry.

posted by Molsonator on May 25, 2014 at 08:16:39 am     #  

and awaaaaay we go...

posted by Sohio on May 25, 2014 at 08:23:03 am     #  

But even a bigger question is "why do they need money?" and what does the other educational options in the area think about subsidizing their competition?

posted by Molsonator on May 25, 2014 at 08:29:26 am     #  

Cuyahoga Community College offers tuition rates about 50 percent lower than the tuition rates at Owens Community College. Twelve credits at CCC is $1,214.52, while twelve credits at Owens is $1,836.00 (Summer 2014 rates).

If Owens is serious about approaching voters for an operating levy, they will likely need to significantly lower the tuition rates to sell this idea to voters. Otherwise, voters may conclude that Owens would be simply using the levy to balance the books to avoid making tough financial decisions.

posted by historymike on May 25, 2014 at 08:53:24 am     #  

Cuyahoga Community College is also a levied College. Almost 30% of its revenue comes from tax levies.

posted by OnePlainPerson on May 25, 2014 at 12:09:26 pm     #  

Yes, I noted this in the second comment in the thread, oneplainperson.

posted by historymike on May 25, 2014 at 02:21:59 pm     #  

Sohio posted at 06:15:37 AM on May 25, 2014:

So an Ottawa County resident can go to Owens on a cheaper tuition although my Lucas County taxes are paying for it is a benefit to me? How?

Perhaps in the same way that a Lucas County resident could go to Owens even though a Wood County resident's taxes would be helping support it...Owens is in Wood County.

How do I benefit from Owens CC being that I don't go to school there?

Perhaps in the same way that good public schools benefit you, even if you don't attend them yourself and/or your children are grown. Community assets improve the quality of life for a community, and can have several economic rewards, such as increased property values--or in the case of Owens, a more educated work force. There are more common facilities and institutions that benefit you directly or indirectly than you'll ever be aware of, whether you use them or not. There can be research done to determine if Owens is producing a satisfactory R.O.I.

All hypotheticals at this point. Nothing has been announced; and even if/when it is, as has been demonstrated here, it's likely to be a longshot.

in the same way that a Lucas County resident could go to Owens even though a Wood County resident's taxes would be helping support it...Owens is in Wood County.

And I have no problem with LC residents paying a higher tuition. Wood County can pay it if their voters deem it important. I think it's a mistake for them but everyone has the right to make mistakes.

Perhaps in the same way that good public schools benefit you, even if you don't attend them yourself and/or your children are grown. Community assets improve the quality of life for a community, and can have several economic rewards, such as increased property values--or in the case of Owens, a more educated work force.

I would rather tax money be used to refine our secondary education, it certainly needs it. Post-secondary needs to always be incumbent upon the individual and their personal motivation.

"All hypotheticals at this point. Nothing has been announced" Asking the taxpayers should be the very last option. There are far better options they have not utilized.

posted by MikeyA on May 26, 2014 at 12:16:46 am     #   1 person liked this

"There are far better options they have not utilized."

Such as?

posted by holland on May 26, 2014 at 09:48:09 am     #  

How about cutting staff to reflect its 35% drop in enrollment since 2009:

2009 Enrollment was 23,606
2009 Student to Faculty ratio: 20 to 1

2012 Enrollment was 16,996
2012 Student to Faculty ratio: 15 to 1

According to the Blade, 2013/2014 enrollment was 14,674 (I couldn't find data on student to faculty ratios.)

So their enrollment has drastically declined in 5 years, but their student to faculty ratios have gone down, not maintained. There full-time faculty has remained steady at about 200, so adjunct faculty has declined some about 175, but thats only 10% of their faculty, not the 35% drop in enrollment. Also, their non-instructional employees have increased by 50 (561 to 612) from 2009 to 2012.

Now its possible that prior to the financial meltdown in 2008, that enrollment was in the 15,000 range, so this was just a recessionary bump in enrollment but that means they have to deal with the decline in students just like they dealt with the increase in students - without more government funding.

Some other interesting notes that come from the data found here: https://www.owens.edu/ie/quick-facts.html

50% of their enrollment comes from Lucas County; Wood is next in the teens, then Hancock County at below 10%. Its going to be hard to convince other counties to support a levy when Lucas gets the biggest benefit.

The finances are interesting too: the Financial Aid adds up to more than what their annual budget is, plus they get $36 million from the state. The financial information just isn't adding up.

A county-wide levy in Lucas County raised about $8 million per mil back in 2008; not sure what current valuations would put it at - at least that if not more I would think.

So yeah, the first option is to cut back on staff, tighten it up, and deal with it. Don't coming asking for more taxpayer dollars than they already are getting.

posted by MrsArcher on May 26, 2014 at 03:49:08 pm     #  

Still another cost-cutting suggestion: Stop those constant and annoying TV advertisements.

posted by MariaL on May 26, 2014 at 06:34:37 pm     #  

Yes.
Because advertising would only lead to more students.

When sales are down, it takes a true visionary to lay off the sales staff.

posted by justread on May 26, 2014 at 09:23:21 pm     #   3 people liked this

MariaL posted at 06:34:37 PM on May 26, 2014:

Still another cost-cutting suggestion: Stop those constant and annoying TV advertisements.

Frankly, this is a plus for Owens.

Advertising gets the uninformed to check out Owens rather than/in addition to the unaccredited diploma mills that advertise all over the place and churn out students with worthless, unrecognized "degrees" and thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

posted by oldhometown on May 27, 2014 at 01:09:24 am     #  

My perspective is one of "mission creep." It is not unusual for what started out being a two-year school with limited AA degree options to start wanting "more" when the money, students, and level of teaching rise (as has been the case with Owens over the past 20 years--despite the recent drop in enrollment).

Growth to administration probably means offering more perks, more fields (requiring more different instructors), improved facilities, more "quality of life" things to attract students, etc. All of which drive up the cost of going there. As I have begun my journey in academia at a community college as an instructor (not at Owens), I can say straight up that my admin is always looking for more bells and whistles rather than focusing on what we are: a two year launching pad for a wide variety of students who may or may not make it, who are looking to take care of core coursework without paying a lot for it, and discovering whether or not this level of education is for them. The basic, bare-bones community college mission is unsexy as hell. But it serves a purpose and that is lost, I feel, when competition heats up between CC's and the diploma mill options...the CC's feel they have to offer the same amenities practically as a four-year school which drives up costs. As does more admin on top of more admin (a whole issue unto itself). It all takes away from the core mission--basic, core education.

Tax levies to support it? No. Sorry, no sale. The costs are still far lower for college level classes (that can be transferred to the more expensive schools) than on a 4 year campus. There's no need to subsidize more. Students are still getting a bargain w/o a levy. Suck it up and pay or look at other options.x Owens needs to adjust its books before it digs into our pocket.

BTW, if you're fine with Owens getting a levy, I'd get ready for the levy to support UT (or BG for those of you in Wood County). The universities contribute far more as an asset than Owens does. And Lloyd Jacobs needs a raise.

posted by oldhometown on May 27, 2014 at 01:21:40 am     #  

holland posted at 09:48:09 AM on May 26, 2014:

"There are far better options they have not utilized."

Such as?

Work toward a closer partnership with local businesses to educate the workforce they already pay.

Create a non-profit within the County sponsored by county businesses and philanthropists to give county residents interest free grants to pay for tuition.

Reduce size and lease out campus buildings to student organizations, partner businesses, charitable organizations.

These are just a few I've seen work at other educational institutions. Institutions that were privately run and did not need tax money.

School district levy's are to provide funding for an education to 100% of the students within the district whether all the children go to the school or not. Owens is not there to serve 100% of students. It is there to serve the students who choose to continue their education. This means personal motivation and thus a levy is not proper.

If that's the case, I want a levy to pay off my student loans. I received an education. LC benefits indirectly from me being education just as much as an Owens student, yet I have more qualifications. So, pay off my education. I don't care that it was my personal choice. I don't care that I directly reap more benefits than those who benefit directly. If we're giving out free money for personal motivation then my motivation is worth more than those who only were motivated enough to get a two year degree.

Do you see now why this is a bad idea?

posted by MikeyA on May 27, 2014 at 02:23:22 am     #   2 people liked this

MikeyA: I don't view it as a community asset if it takes money away from the community. How do I benefit from Owens CC being that I don't go to school there?

--

You don't benefit and so you should vote against this levy. OCC partied like their enrollment would rise to the moon. It went on building and hiring binges and now that enrollment and funding has decreased, they are stuck with too many over-paid employees.

Rather than greatly reducing the number of staff and also slashing pay and benefits of that bloated staff is to steal money from property owners.

Hopefully this levy fails by a landslide, but I never underestimate the propagandists in NWO regarding touting levies.

posted by 6th_Floor on Jun 02, 2014 at 11:49:16 am     #