Great Seal of the State of Idaho



May 12, 2017

CONTACT: Jon Hanian
(208) 334-2100





By Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter

Bonneville County citizens have an important choice to make on Tuesday. Your decision on whether to establish a taxing district to create a community college will have significant impacts on the future of eastern Idaho and the entire state.

Choosing to form the district will be ensuring that you, your children and grandchildren, and everyone who makes your community their home will have access to affordable education to develop their talents and abilities in support of their families and a more robust economy.

Idaho faces a worsening shortage of people with the postsecondary degrees, certificates and credentialed education and training to meet our workforce needs. Increasing academic and career technical education opportunities in such high-demand fields as health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing and transportation are an economic imperative for Idaho.  Community colleges, with their combined academic and career and technical programs, are an increasingly essential part of providing the skills our workers need and our employers demand.

We know that increased educational attainment improves the quality of life for individuals by providing access to jobs with higher wages that support families and create opportunities for personal financial security. Recent studies show that an associate’s degree adds as much as $400,000 to an individual’s lifetime earnings. High school is no longer enough; pursuing a K-through-Career approach to building Idaho’s education system is a key to our economic future.
Bonneville County has a tremendous head start toward establishing a community college because you have the infrastructure already in place with Eastern Idaho Technical College. And local taxpayers won’t be in this alone: Beyond the $5 million in startup funding already approved by the Legislature, the College of Eastern Idaho will have financial backing from State general funds, Career Technical Education program funding, liquor tax revenue, and student tuition. Area employers also will be able to develop partnerships with CEI to create a pipeline of skilled workers for their businesses.

You don’t have to look far for a recent model of success in establishing a new community college. With their own $5 million in State startup funds in 2007, the people of Ada and Canyon counties voted to create the College of Western Idaho.

Since then, CWI has grown faster than any community college in American history.  Despite having a number of four-year public and private higher education institutions nearby, there was a huge pent-up demand for lower-cost, workforce-focused education and training programs.
I applaud the citizens of Bonneville County for the depth, passion and civility of your public discussion on this crucial issue. Now, it’s time to choose. Your vote to transform Eastern Idaho Technical College into a full-fledged community college means making a smart investment that will keep paying off for years to come – for our people, for our economy, and for yourself.

Please vote “yes” on Tuesday, May 16th.


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