Voters in several school districts across Southwest Missouri will decide two property tax issues for Ozarks Technical Community College Tuesday.
Proposition A would renew, for 20 years, a five-cent tax voters approved in 1998 for OTC, which has funded the Industrial Technical Training Center, the addition of 20 new technical and allied health programs and the Middle College, according to OTC Chancellor Dr. Hal Higdon. He said the Middle College has a 100 percent graduation rate and has graduated 23,000 students so far.
"These are students that, had they stayed in their native high school, they would have become disengaged because they were not interested in the four year track or they weren't interested in the pressure and the social life of a high school student, Higdon said.
According to Higdon, the Middle College has an annual economic impact of more than $230 million. If the tax is renewed, it would continue to fund existing programs, including the Middle College.
The other property tax issue for OTC, Proposition B, is an additional five-cent property tax, to sunset after 20 years, expected to generate approximately $3.3 million annually. One thing it would fund is a Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Springfield.
"It would allow us to train a great deal more people and also serve our business and industry in things like automated manufacturing, robotics, 3-D printing.," he said. "It would be a center of innovation that would allow business and industry to do training there and get their students trained."
According to Higdon, the turf and landscape and agriculture programs would be moved to the Richwood Valley campus and would be expanded to include turf management for golf courses and possibly golf course management.
Tax revenue would also be used to create an OTC center in Republic and to add additional allied health and technical programs in Taney and Christian Counties, he said.
If both issues pass, a homeowner with a property that has an assessed value of $100,000 would pay an additional $10 a year. OTC would still have the lowest state and local funding in Missouri, according to Higdon.