Boswell and Kibbie attend Community College Roundtable in Atlantic

News

November 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The President of the Iowa Senate and an Iowa Congressman attended a Community College roundtable discussion held in Atlantic Monday evening. The event, at Iowa Western Community College, included Senator Jack Kibbie and Congressman Leonard Boswell, both of whom proclaim to be advocates for community colleges. The two democrats and a handful of visitors listened to a presentation by Iowa Western Design Technology Program Instructor Joseph Vanstrom, before asking some questions and making a few statements about how community colleges receive a disproportional amount of funding from the State as compared to state universities, private colleges and k-through 12 schools.

Boswell, said he would be traveling back to Washington, D.C. today (Tuesday), and hold conversations about what he’s learned during his visit to Iowa Western and other community colleges throughout the state. He said both he and Kiddie want to do what they can to help create jobs despite the budget cut axe which hangs over their heads. Vanstrom told them there can’t be jobs without an investment in education. Kibbie acknowledged community colleges are under-funded as compared to other institutions of higher learning. He says the average Iowa community college gets $1,948 in state funding per student in the current fiscal year, a figure backed-up by the non-partisan Fiscal Services Division. $267 of that state funding comes from local property taxes. By comparison, Kibbie says, private college receives $2,575 per pupil on average. He says funding for community colleges are not based on a per-pupil basis, like k-through 12 schools.

State Universities receive a total $10,233 per pupil. Neither private colleges nor state universities receive any of their funds from property taxes. K-thru 12 schools receive more than $2,580 per pupil from property taxes, for a total of $7,881. That includes State aid, and ARRA Education Stabilization funds.  Both Boswell and Kibbie said they were excited to learn about Iowa Western’s Design Technology Program, which received a $65.2-million dollar grant from Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of Siemens Industry Automotive Division, and, local investments of more than $600,000. The college held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in September to celebrate the new, two-year degree Design Technology program.