Guest Commentary Investing in our future | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Guest Commentary Investing in our future

Our journey toward Measure F began in May 2013, when Lake Tahoe Community College enacted “Investing In Our Future,” a fiscal stability plan to ensure the sustainability of LTCC for the next 40 years. The first step in this plan was to build a shared vision of the future. In September 2013, LTCC leaders brought community members, faculty, staff, students, K-12 educators, and elected officials together to develop that shared vision.

This fiscal stability plan was developed in response to an enrollment drop caused by new state regulations regarding repeatability of classes, years of state budget cuts, the loss of the Good Neighbor policy with Nevada, and other factors. The combination left LTCC at a pivotal crossroads.

The choice was to either downsize the college dramatically by reducing more programs, services, and employees, or to embark on a well thought-out strategic plan to build sustainable enrollments based on a shared vision, diversified revenue sources, our current program strengths, and better serving of our community’s needs. LTCC’s Board of Trustees and college leadership made a choice, and that choice was to move the college forward toward a realistic shared vision.

During the last 17 months the students, faculty, staff, Board, and college leadership has done exactly what it promised the community: to become “California’s Premier Destination Community College” and to ensure the college serves the South Lake Tahoe community for many years to come. To that effort, LTCC has:

Restored its full-time equivalent students from 1,464 FTES to 1,870 FTES in FY 2014-15.

Launched a successful intercollegiate women’s and men’s soccer program.

Grown our international student base from 2 to 33 students.

Conducted a statistically valid survey to assess our community’s support for a general obligation bond, and to understand the community’s priorities. Those priorities include transfer to four-year schools; modernizing classrooms, labs, and technology; a University Center; and maintaining the current college campus.

Provided more than $2 million in federal financial aid and more than $90,000 in scholarships to LTCC students.

Developed and submitted over $42 million in capital project proposals to the California Community Colleges Capital Outlay Program to fund facilities and technology upgrades and modernizations for LTCC. This includes an Initial Project Proposal for a Public Safety Training Facility with two-thirds paid for with state funding, and one-third from local funding. In order to access this funding source, local matches are required. We can then leverage $55 million into a $100 million, 10-year building program.

Diversified LTCC’s revenues, with over $2.6 million coming from outside our community to fund our local college. This was accomplished by leveraging our existing, outstanding Fire Science and Academy curriculum and program.

Reduced budgets and benefits costs by $2.5 million over the past three years.

Built a strong relationship with the Lake Tahoe Unified School District to ensure the successful transition of its students into LTCC, and to save money by sharing facilities.

Completed a comprehensive facilities assessment.

Incentivized and solicited private developers to build student residence halls on LTCC’s beautiful 164-acre campus.

In response to our local community’s priorities, LTCC continues to work on the following:

Launching a new Environmental Technology and Sustainability certificate and Associate of Arts degree. This is in response to the plethora of environmental jobs in public, private, and non-profit sectors here in South Lake Tahoe.

Developing a proposal for a Baccalaureate Degree and soliciting colleges and universities to participate in a University Center at LTCC.

Developing an adult education program in partnership with LTUSD in hospitality.

The college’s student body, Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, Foundation Board, and leadership are committed to the long-term viability of our local community college, and to leading the way to a vibrant and sustainable South Lake Tahoe economy. We are doing what we said we’d do based on the community’s priorities and input. We are asking our community to invest in our college by voting yes on Measure F this November. Please stand alongside over 400 community members in supporting Measure F for our FUTURE. Measure F is a strong investment for education and our local economy.

Friends of LTCC – Yes on F 2014

Member names listed at http://www.yesforltcc.com/campaign_committee


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