On Tuesday Nov. 7 Montgomery county voters passed the Issue 4 levy supporting Sinclair Community college. The levy passed with 74 percent of voters in favor.
Issue 4 was a renewal levy of $28 million that accounts for 20 percent of Sinclair’s funding. Sinclair has had several levies in the past with the same purpose of providing funding. However Issue 4 was a renewal and therefore did not raise taxes any higher for Montgomery county.
Senior Advisor to the President, Michael Carter, said this was a huge part of the message for the campaign.
The purpose of the renewal was explained in four key points that were posted on the levy’s website: sustaining the quality of programs and faculty, keeping services and facilities up to date, expanding existing programs to meet evolving needs of the workforce and community and sustaining affordable cost for quality education.
These points, Carter says, really outline what the levy is all about.
20 percent of funding is a significant amount according to Carter and the full time Campaign Manager for the levy, Janet Schmitt. Without that 20 percent, some programs and services may have needed to be cut.
“A lot of questions need asked when funding is paused or goes away.” Carter said.
Furthermore, Carter said the funding enables Sinclair to continue doing great work for the students and community. Stabilized funding allows looking forward to the future of the school.
“The renewal of the levy means we can continue to provide these services,” Schmitt agreed.
The strong emphasis in the campaign that Issue 4 wouldn’t raise taxes was paired with the phrase “Keep Sinclair Strong.” This was often seen on yard signs and posters supporting the levy.
The other side voting against issue 4 was “Keep Sinclair Fair.” This position argued that the levy not taxing other counties that are home to other campus locations, isn’t fair. The movement’s website urged a vote against Issue 4 until the residents of these other counties are taxed equally.
The Keep Sinclair Fair movement is led by David Ezrati. On the movement’s website, Ezrati is quoted suggesting that Montgomery county voters are ultimately paying for the support of these other locations of Sinclair.
However, despite this, 74 percent of voters still supported the levy.
Both Carter and Schmitt said the levy passing with a 74 percent clip was a great approval of their work by Montgomery County voters.
Schmitt said it was both humbling and exciting to see the strong faith and trust the community put in the hard work Sinclair does for its students and community.
According to Carter and Schmitt, a lot of work was put into getting the renewal levy up on the November ballot. Before Aug. 1, the decision to put Issue 4 up on the ballot had to be made by the board. Schmitt said a lot of planning went into this decision.
Schmitt took on the role of full time Campaign Manager for Issue 4 on Aug. 15. She was the only paid employee but worked with over 450 volunteers involved with supporting the effort.
The campaign had 12 service areas including yard signs, going door to door, phone bank efforts and phone calls. Schmitt said 15,000 phone calls were made by volunteers campaigning Issue 4.