Tuesday, October 26, 2010

That Other Referendum Question

While the train haters are busy getting their freak on next Tuesday over a question that nobody could love, there is a real referendum question on the ballot that really will impact your taxes and the quality of life in Dane County: The MATC, err, Madison College referendum.

Madison.com ran a story this week giving the essentials. Madison College has its own bloggish website that it calls its Smart Community Plan. Holy cats! Their last referendum was in 1974.

According to madison.com:

"Madison Area Technical College will be asking voters on Nov. 2 for the green light to borrow up to $133.8 million for new construction. The bonds would take 20 years to pay off. If the referendum passes, taxes on the average home in Madison, valued at $245,424, would increase by $33.10."

Yes, it's a bad time to ask voters to raise their taxes, but it is also a very smart time to borrow money for needed capital projects.

Gadzooks, even the Herald Independent - amidst their endorsement of every Republican and conservative talking point in sight - supports this referendum. And don't blame - or credit - Adam and the gang at the Herald for these endorsements; they come from the publisher.

What do you think?

This came in the mail today:


  1. I noticed the same thing about the HI endorsements, it actually sickened me how biased it was, and immediately cancelled my subscription (and I'm not a flaming liberal!). It is indeed also a bad time to ask for more money for MATC when our local school districts are in such dire need. What would $33 per household in Monona and CG do for our district over 20 years? Gerlach would I'd vote for that referendumThey can work with less at MATC, and the questions by one of the faculty union reps basically went unanswered regarding operational costs. They will have to max out their annual increase for operations...so look out, they will be back next year and the year after for more money to operate. It will cost hundreds of dollars more in the long run, probably a lot more if you live in a fancy house on the lake.

  2. Whoa, you missed the boat - or at least my points. Uncancel that subscription! The HI provides good local coverage; we need it. Ignore the editorials (don't you ignore the State Journal's?).

    Your message on the referendum gets a little garbled there.

    The referendum is for capital projects (see below). It's a valid question about the impact on the operating budget.

    — $43.1 million for a new health education center and clinic at the main Truax Campus

    — $21.7 million for new law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services facilities, most of which will be at Truax

    — $7.3 million for renovation and upgrades at MATC’s regional campuses in Fort Atkinson, Watertown, Reedsburg and Portage

    — $16.8 million for a new west wing, plus upgrades to the current west wing, at the Truax campus to support transportation programs and advanced manufacturing programs

    — $34.2 million for classroom repairs and upgrades at the various Madison campuses, including $6 million for a new Student Achievement Center at Truax that will provide academic support services such as math labs, writing centers and tutoring rooms and another $26.5 million for a Science Education Center, improved student access to technology and updated classrooms. There also is $1.2 million set aside for work at the downtown campus and $480,000 for more classrooms at the south campus

    — $10.7 million for the acquisition of property to make traffic improvements, add more parking, and update storm water and drainage systems.

  3. Mad College provides a huge service to non-traditional student populations, including adults returning for career degrees, college prep classes, etc. It serves traditional students who cannot afford four years at a 4-year college through articulated transfer agreements, and students who prefer a career that requires a 2 year AD program. Not everyone needs, or wants, a 4-year college degree. Mad College also provides remedial coursework for students who did not succeed in high school sufficiently to take on post-secondary education of any type. If you want to take money away from another educational source to fund 2-year schools, look at some of the UW System 4-year campuses that have abysmal degree completion rates because they take kids that aren't ready for college. A huge sinkhole of taxpayer dollars. These kids belong in a Mad College-type scenario where they can develop the maturity and academic skills to succeed on a four-year campus. And Mad College can do it much cheaper than a four-year campus.
    Mad College also has agreements with area high schools, including MG, where kids can take classes while still in high school that meet requirements for Mad College programs. This is tremendous savings for these families and make it more likely the student will complete a program after matriculating to Mad College.
    I am voting YES!

  4. Lily, thanks much for taking the lead on the pro side of the discussion.

  5. Glad you can affford it, Lily. Many just can't.