The community college seeks a renewal.
From the March, 2020 issue
Along with the presidential primary (see Inside Ann Arbor, p. 13), the March 10 ballot includes Washtenaw Community College's request to renew and restore a 1 mill operating millage. That translates to $150 annually on a $300,000 home with a taxable value of $150,000. Local taxpayers pay half of the school's $113 million annual budget; this millage provides a little more than $17 million.
The college's last operating millage request in 2016 sailed to victory unopposed with 70 percent of the vote. But while this one also has no organized opposition, it does have one very determined critic.
Eileen Peck's website, wccwatch.org, features headlines like "WCC master plan hides an awful truth" and "WCC's Health and Fitness Center Fraud." But the key to understanding it is the post "What is the real cost of outsourcing WCC's IT department?"
Peck's husband was one of the thirty-one full-time employees who lost their jobs when WCC eliminated its in-house IT department last year. So while Peck says she's "voted for every millage that the college has asked for in the past, I don't intend to vote for this millage."
Dave Fitzpatrick, who stepped down in February as president of the college's faculty union, believes voters "absolutely should" support the millage. If it fails, he says "the only people who will be harmed are students. The college will either have to raise tuition or end programs or both.
"People who are concerned about the issues raised by WCC Watch need to address those issues through the board of trustees," Fitzpatrick adds.
Peck hopes to do that, too: she says she's actively seeking candidates to run in the November trustee election.
[Originally published in March, 2020.]
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