ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
What is Issue 21?
Issue 21 is a bond issue for capital improvements of Columbus State’s Franklin County facilities on the Franklin County 2020 Primary Election ballot. With voter approval, Issue 21 will provide needed resources to invest in the state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, and technology necessary to provide high-quality, affordable, in-demand training for the jobs of today and tomorrow in fields like health care, business, manufacturing, IT, and other technologies.
As a bond issue, all of the funding generated by Issue 21 must be used for capital expenses (i.e., renovations, repairs, new construction, technology, and equipment). By law, none of the funds can be used for salaries, raises, or other operating expenses.
Is there a plan for how the funding generated by Issue 21 will be spent?
Yes. In September 2019, the Columbus State Community College Board of Trustees approved a 10-year IT and facilities infrastructure improvement plan: Making Central Ohio Stronger: The Columbus State Educational Facilities and Technology Plan. The plan is the result of formal infrastructure and ADA accessibility assessments for each building, and it serves as a blueprint for modernizing learning spaces across all of the College’s facilities, allowing it to better prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The total cost of the plan for Franklin County facilities and technology is approximately $390 million.
How much funding will Issue 21 generate, and what is the cost to taxpayers?
With voter approval, Issue 21 will generate approximately $300 million – sufficient funding to help the college implement its 10-year capital plan for Franklin County facilities without having to return to the ballot to ask for further funding. Issue 21 is a 24-year bond issue of less than one mill (0.65 mill). The cost to taxpayers is less than $2 a month per $100,000 of property value.
What are some of the specific capital improvements planned with Issue 21 funds?
All of the funding generated from Issue 21 will be spent on Columbus State facilities located in Franklin County, including projects such as:
- Repairing deteriorating infrastructure on the 50-year-old campus, including roofs, plumbing, windows, ventilation, elevators, security systems, parking lots and sidewalks to keep them safe for students and the community.
- Improving educational and training facilities for jobs in in-demand fields such as health care, information technology, science, engineering, business, advanced manufacturing and other local, in-demand jobs.
- Constructing new modern labs, updating campus technology, and modernizing existing classrooms so that students can train in workplace-like environments.
- Adding a new academic building with classrooms, labs, and technology to provide up-to-date learning centers for workforce development and to prepare students for good jobs.
How will Issue 21 impact our local workforce and economy?
Workforce development is the leading economic issue in Central Ohio and throughout our state. Columbus State Community College is critically important to the economic strength of Central Ohio. With more than 45,000 full- and part-time students, and open to all who need it, the college is Ohio’s second-largest public higher education institution based on for-credit students, and the region’s number one engine for preparing students for in-demand jobs and meeting the growing and evolving employment needs of Central Ohio.
When our communities and employers are strong, we all benefit. Columbus State has partnerships with many of the region’s largest employers. It’s critical that the College is prepared to fulfill the demand for high-quality employees. More than 75% of Columbus State graduates stay right here in Central Ohio, working in fields like health care, business, manufacturing, IT, and other technologies, making significant contributions to the well-being and strength of our communities and the region.
Does Columbus State receive State funding for capital improvements?
Yes, and Columbus State values every dollar it receives. Over the past 10 years, State capital appropriations to Columbus State have averaged less than $5 million per year. Over that same period, and in addition to State capital funds, Columbus State has spent an average of $4.5 million each year to address necessary capital needs—funds that otherwise could have been spent on academic and student success programs.
Has Columbus State pursued other funding options for capital needs?
Yes. To date, Columbus State has survived through responsible fiscal management practices and by seeking grants, partnerships, and private funding to meet its capital needs. For example, Mitchell Hall, the newly opened Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts Building, was funded by a public-private partnership between the State of Ohio, Columbus State, and a philanthropic campaign. The College will continue to practice strong financial stewardship and pursue innovative funding partnerships, but without additional local support, it will have no choice but to continue dipping into educational resources to address capital needs—at the expense of students, area employers, and the economic vitality of our region.
Do other community colleges receive local voter-approved funding?
Yes. Many high-performing community colleges in other areas of the state have been operating for many years with greater local support than what Columbus State is proposing. Columbus State has been successful without this kind of local support because of its history of managing its resources in a business-like manner through strong stewardship of tuition revenue and state funding. However, if Columbus State is to continue to be a leader in workforce development for Central Ohio, the College must have the resources necessary to invest in the state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, and technology necessary to provide high-quality, affordable, in-demand training for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Why did the College’s Board of Trustees put Issue 21 on the ballot now?
Columbus State has a serious and compelling need to upgrade its facilities and technology. That’s why Issue 21 is receiving strong support across the county from business and civic leaders, advocates of economic opportunity and success, educators, and numerous current and former elected officials.
In the fall of 2019, Ohio lawmakers gave Columbus State and eight other state community colleges the authority long-held by most of Ohio’s community colleges to seek local voter approval for additional resources to improve campus facilities and technology. The 2020 Primary Election is Columbus State’s first opportunity to use the authority it has needed and sought for years.
The College’s capital needs have been thoroughly researched and prioritized, and the planned facilities upgrades will make sure Columbus State stays affordable, accessible and high quality for people of every background, occupation, and calling. Modernization will allow our community to provide the job-oriented higher education our region needs—producing the right skills for our workforce and employers. Delaying any longer would put the college further behind in its ability to provide modern, effective learning spaces and training for in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.
Who pays for the Issue 21 Campaign?
The campaign for Issue 21 is paid for by Citizens for Columbus State, a non-partisan ballot issue committee funded entirely by private donations, which are disclosed as required by law.