Are you sick of your property being taxed-to-the-max and your local elected officials continuing the spending spree? On the heels of the $58M City Center project, the majority of the Joliet Junior College board is directing the administration to move forward with another new $45M building.
The proposed building is referred to as the “Multipurpose” building. The primary use would be to hold graduation ceremonies. Currently JJC holds them at Lewis University because JJC doesn’t have a large enough indoor venue to hold all of the graduates, family, and friends who attend. But do they really need this? The University of Illinois doesn’t have a large enough venue either, so they hold multiple ceremonies on the same day. JJC could do this too.
The secondary use would be as a field house for athletics. The mission for a community college is to prepare students in the community for jobs and continuing education at the lowest cost possible to students and the taxpayers. Once again, athletics would be a want and not a need in this economy. The board rightly made such a decision two years ago when they decided to eliminate the football program due to the cost and the need to balance the ever growing budget.
The current city center building project quickly grew from the initial plan of $24M public/private partnership to $58M -all taxpayer funded today. There was no jobs study, graduate success tracking, or economic study to justify the expansion. Likewise, this proposed Multipurpose building has had no due diligence to justify it either. It’s a want, not a need. How large will the cost grow?
Since the millions from the referendum are already spent, the board is pushing for most of this building to be funded by major tuition increases again. Of course, the board majority has discussed spreading the tuition increase out over two or three years because as one board member put it, “If we’re gonna put the arm on the students…I think we should break it up into pieces so they don’t get something caught in their throat.” This after having already raised tuition $19/credit hour since the recession started (2008-09), a 21.5% increase by itself. Any additional cost increases and operating and maintenance will end up on the shoulders of taxpayers and students.
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Joliet Junior College Board candidate