Adult Educator, Retired from McHenry County College 2008
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
I have worked for twenty-two years at McHenry County College and in Chicago three years at Harold Washington (formerly Loop College). I think my familiarity with community colleges would give me a unique perspective on the Board. I feel passionately about the mission of community colleges and want to ensure MCC continues to play a vital role in our community and be a remarkable value for our students. I also have extensive volunteer involvement in our community and have demonstrated an ability to build positive relationships with community members. For these reasons, I feel that I’m a good candidate for the MCC Board of Trustees.
Do you support the college’s long-term expansion plan? Explain.
I think the college’s long term expansion plan is just that, a long term guide for expansion which will be implemented in stages. The plan needs to be revisited every five years. I do believe that the college will need to expand some time in the future. My criteria for supporting any building expansion would be: •the need for a specific expansion be adequately demonstrated •that the plan be fiscally sound •be environmentally sustainable and community supported I do not support the current Health Science, Education and Wellness Center proposal. I oppose the issuance of alternative revenue bonds to fund the project. I feel that is sidestepping the voters. The community needs to be engaged in any expansion plan for the college. In addition another source of revenue that is being proposed for funding of this project is an $8 increase per credit hour fee for students. I object to this project being built with an additional student fee increase.
Would you support freezing the college’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
In these difficult economic times, I would be in support of keeping the college’s levy request flat. I would oppose a freeze because I think the tax levy request has to be looked at every year in relation to the college’s revenue needs. The bigger question here is what is the appropriate mix of revenue that the college needs to deliver excellent educational opportunities for our students. Currently property taxes account for 58% of the budget, the state is 5% and tuition and fees make up 36% of the revenues 1% is other. The MCC Board of Trustees needs to look critically at its expenditures against current revenue and set realistic goals for revenue sources.
What one decision by the board do you most disagree with and why?
I disagree with the Board’s decision to hire Power Wellness as a consultant to conduct the feasibility study for the proposed 42 million Health, Education and Wellness Center. Power Wellness might well be considered a future partner with this project thus profiting financially if the project proceeds. I consider this a conflict of interest. The majority of the Board members did not see this as a conflict of interest.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
From my point of view the adoption of the Sustainability Strategic Plan for the college and approving the position of Sustainability Director was a significant accomplishment of the Board this past year. Both of these actions reflect a commitment by the board to have the college become more sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint. I believe the college will see savings in its operational budget in the long run by implementing the strategies outlined in this plan. This is also an important issue because the College is located in the Crystal Lake Watershed.
Outside of any issues already discussed, what one or two things would you try to accomplish if you are elected?
I would like to see the college expand its collaborative efforts with area manufacturing employers for training of their workforce. Manufacturing is one of largest business segment in our county. Now more than ever these jobs are requiring post secondary education. MCC can play a critical role in meeting this need. If we are to expand our facilities, we need to strengthen community support for our efforts. I want to build relationships with members of our community that fosters better communication and understanding of what McHenry County College is about and the vital role it plays in our community.
Walsh's Current Race