KRESA CTE Millage Proposal Would Fund Systemic Redesign of K-12+ CTE
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Kalamazoo County voters will decide on the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency Career and Technical Education (CTE) Millage Proposal. The one-mill property tax increase would be levied over 20 years to help fund a systemic redesign of K-12+ CTE.
The current CTE system, Education for Employment (EFE), is a decentralized consortium. Students from Kalamazoo RESA’s nine local school districts take classes at high schools, area businesses and community-based organizations across the county, as well as Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
“While historically sound, this current model is not likely to produce the robust career preparation that our students and employers need,” said Dave Campbell, Kalamazoo RESA Superintendent.
Enrollment in CTE in Kalamazoo County is trending down, despite steadily increasing CTE numbers across the state of Michigan. Declining participation combined with changes in our local labor market and the global economy have created a skills gap, preventing area students from gaining the skills employers desire. Students leave school without the support or training they need to find meaningful, successful employment.
“Our rapidly changing society and economy are making it much more complex to be a young person trying to find their way,” said Campbell. “When young people learn marketable skills through CTE, it gives them hope AND a plan.”
At a time when post-secondary education is more expensive than ever, it's also more important than ever. A comprehensive redesign of Career and Technical Education (CTE) would improve access to training and better support our students and community. In a recent survey, potential voters agreed. EPIC-MRA polled 400 active and likely voters within the Kalamazoo RESA service area and found that 73 percent of respondents were in favor of the KRESA CTE Millage Proposal. A follow-up question also found that after receiving more information about the proposal, overall support increased to 76 percent.
The survey found:
- 89% of all respondents - "Receiving job training in the workplace will offer students actual experience in career areas where they expressed an interest, help them decide if the career choices they make are right for them, and also help them land a job."
- 87% of all respondents - "Students who complete career technical education courses will likely be able to earn a certificate in the career area they have chosen which they can show to prospective employers."
- 85% of all respondents - "Passage of the CTE proposal will make sure our career and job training programs are able to ensure our children are prepared for the jobs available in today's job market and the ever-changing job market of the future."
- 84% of all respondents - "Redesigned and expanded CTE programs will strengthen partnerships with area employers and area colleges, which can prepare students for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future."
- 82% of all respondents - "an enhanced CTE program will enable our children to learn the skills needed for the jobs available, as well as allow them to earn a good living and raise their families here, which makes the tax increase well worth it."
The KRESA CTE millage proposal will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot. Registered voters in the Kalamazoo RESA service area are eligible to vote. If approved, the millage would provide:
- Increased equity, efficiency and quality of K12+ CTE programming
- More career readiness coaches exposing more students to potential careers
- A centrally located career center with smaller satellite locations
- Efficient transportation so more students can participate
- State-of-the-art technology and equipment to prepare students for high-demand, high-skill and high-wage careers
- More instructional support staff to help students who are at-risk those with disabilities
- Additional training and support for students and families, including underrepresented populations
- More career planning, apprenticeships and work-based learning to help students choose the right careers
- More students earning credentials/certificates to meet the needs of employers
- Enhanced partnerships with employers and colleges to help prepare students for the 21st Century
- More young people equipped with the skills needed to earn a good living, allowing them to raise families in the area
If approved, the CTE proposal would cost a homeowner with a home with a taxable value of $75,000 (approximate market value of $150,000) $6.25 per month.
Learn more about the Kalamazoo RESA CTE Millage Proposal, as well as the extensive research and analysis behind the request, at kresaCTE.org.