Tri-C President Dr. Alex Johnson is shown with two of Tri-C students. Johnson spoke to the Call & Post regarding the significance of voting yes on Issue 61.
For more than a half century, Cuyahoga Community College (better known as Tri-C) has been the gift that just kept on breathing hope where there was despair and transforming the lives of a sea of community residents into careers that allowed for them to fulfill the American dream
However, if Tri-C is going to keep inspiring and uplifting while also proving to be an enormous economic engine to the county and surround cities, it will need for voters to pass Bond Issue 61 on the Nov. 7 ballot.
“Issue 61 is designed to ensure that the college has the state of the art or updated facilities and equipment that it requires for the next 25 years,” Tri-C President Dr. Alex Johnson explained to the Call & Post.
Johnson says Issue 61 will transform the economic position of greater Cleveland while also continuing to provide individuals with a well rounded education and one that would lead them to jobs for now and the future.
The bond issue will raise $227.5 million over a 25 year period that will be paid by homeowners of a $100,000 home at a tax rate of $1.46 per month, or less than $18 per year.
“We are hope that the tax payers who have been supporting us for more than 50 years now. This is first time that we’ve gone out and ask for any support for facility development,” Johnson added.
Continuing he stated: “This is an important time, giving the fact that we need to fortify our programs and provide a great many more work force offerings, but also important in the fact that the state has also significantly cut back on their support of facilities and thus we nee to go out to our friends into the community.”
The endorsements in support of the issue have been significant and they hail from significant places.
Among those endorsements are the County Democratic organizations, The Greater Cleveland Partnership, The Port Authority, Cranes Business, The NAACP, The Urban League, Hispanic Roundtable, the Mayors and Managers Association of Cuyahoga County and also a wealth of endorsements from many influential individuals.
“We also have received support from the general citizens,” he added.
Johnson is encouraged by the favorable 78 percent polling data in support of the issue for Tri-C’s four comprehensive campuses which educates 55,000 students annually and boast and increased graduation rate of 100 percent, including 12,000 gradates over the past three years alone.
These students receives associates degrees and certificates that allow for them to get into the work force. The number of work force credentials Tri-C has awarded has escalated from 900 in 2013 to 13,900 the past academic year.
Those gaudy accolades aside, Johnson isn’t taking anything for granted on securing the necessary votes to pass Issue 61.
“We are not taking anything for granted. We are taking this one day at a time and even though we know we have wide spread support through our polling and we’ve got these great endorsements, we don’t take anything for granted.”
“So we are engaged in a very extensive effort to educate and help people understand first and foremost the importance of this issue of what it will do.”
This is Tri-C's first request for a bond issue since 1963 and the money will be used on all 50 buildings in Cuyahoga County.