Letter to the Editor
In an effort to clarify what was reported by Mountain Home News about the January 6, 2023 Elmore County Commissioners meeting, the group that circulated petitions for a CSI Community College District would like to add the following information that was NOT reported.
Elmore County is the only county in Idaho that is divided between 2 community college service areas. Our county cannot be served 100% by either CWI or CSI without the formation of a taxing district. This formation will allow a community college to bring in services to help build the future workforce of Elmore County. These services will include robust apprenticeship programs, and entrepreneurial programs to build new businesses to replace the businesses owned by residents approaching retirement. They will also offer to students and adults more opportunities to keep them employed and living in Elmore County.
CWI was approached approximately 6 years ago by members of this group and had no interest in Elmore County. CSI has shown interest from the start.
What does this look like for the taxpayers? CWI will take in approximately $250,000.00/year to offer services. CSI will take in over $2 million dollars/year.
While our schools can offer programs for many of our students, their CTE (Career Technical Education Programs) can only afford so much. Many of their classes are virtual. One cannot learn how to rebuild a motor, how to construct a home, or how to drive heavy equipment virtually. These are hands on courses to be taught by an instructor, using expensive equipment, with certifications and endorsements as a result.
As residents, we see shortages and long wait times for many of our everyday needs. Elmore County loses revenue with every repair or service that is taken out of the county, and we, the residents lose time and money by having to drive to Boise or Twin Falls, or to have to call out of the area for an appliance or item to be repaired.
The facts are that close to 4000 residents commute outside of Elmore county daily for work. Elmore County loses millions of dollars of revenue to other counties because of lack of businesses and services not available here. What this group is trying to do is build a sustainable program that grows our own and is able to offer opportunities to students, adults, and current/future businesses of Elmore County.