by Max Brantley
The Pulaski Tech Board of Trustees decided today to move forward with a special election on a Pulaski County property tax millage this summer. It would be the first source of local funding for the school, which has experienced enormous growth to around 11,900 students.
An election date was not chosen, but it would come well after the Feb. 14 vote in the North Little Rock School District vote for a 7.4 millage increase and before the November general election. The size of the millage increase also wasn't specified. A Central Arkansas Library System election to extend, not raise, an existing millage is also a likelihood this summer.
The election would be only for Pulaski County, but the Board didn't rule out asking Saline County voters for support, too. Tech's large south campus, sits on Interstate 30 on the edge of Saline County and draws many students there. It also operates center at Bauxite and Benton.
The school is going to talk with consulting firms about managing the election Feb. 9. I hope they hire a consultant that believes in public accountability in election campaign spending, but if they choose the Markham Group or Craig Douglass I already know that answer.
UPDATE: Tax or no tax, tuition is going up next fall for Pulaski Tech students, by 7 percent The full range of fee increases follows in a school news release.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK - Tuition at Pulaski Technical College will increase by 7 percent beginning with the fall 2012 semester.
The Pulaski Technical College Board of Trustees unanimously approved the increase during a regular meeting today and also approved changes to some student fees.
Tuition costs will increase $6 per credit hour, from $84 to $90 for in-state residents. Tuition for out-of-state students will increase $10 per credit hour from $138 to $148. International students will continue to pay the out-of-state tuition rate plus a $500- per-semester international student fee.
The Pulaski Technical College Board of Trustees reviews tuition adjustments in January each year in order to give current and new students plenty of time to prepare for the fall semester and to publicize the information. Registration for the fall semester begins in April.
In addition, the board approved the following fee changes:
* A new Property Maintenance fee will require students to pay $11.50 per semester, to comply with the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s policy requiring colleges to set aside $2.50 per square foot of instructional space to pay for maintenance costs.
* A new $90 fee per semester for students enrolled in the Associate of Arts in Teaching degree program and Early Childhood students enrolled in the Associate of Applied Science and Technical Certificate programs. The fee will cover testing remediation software, testing fees, criminal background checks, maltreatment checks and other associated student expenses.
* Fees in the Practical Nursing program will increase from $200 to $275 per semester for students enrolled in the full-time, three-semester program. Fees will increase from $100 to $145 per semester for students in the part-time, six-semester program.
* The cost for prospective nursing students to take the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) will increase from $30 to $50.
All other fees will remain the same for the 2012-13 academic school year. For fall, a full-time student taking 15 hours will pay approximately $1,591.50 for tuition and fees, depending on the course of study.
The tuition increase is expected to generate $1.5 million in additional revenue for the college.
“State funding and tuition revenues are our only permanent sources of revenue,” college president Dr. Dan F. Bakke said. “Our state funding hasn’t kept pace with the cost of educating students. We never like to raise tuition, but at the same time, we have to be fiscally responsible.”
In a separate measure, the Board of Trustees also voted to pursue a millage election, which if approved by voters, would provide some local tax support for Pulaski Tech.
The college, which serves an estimated 12,000 students, is the state’s largest two-year college. Unlike most of the state’s two-year colleges, Pulaski Tech receives no local tax support from the community it serves.
Pulaski Technical College is a comprehensive, two-year college that serves the educational needs of central Arkansas through more than 90 occupational/technical degree and certificate programs, a university-transfer curriculum and specialized programs for business and industry.
The college’s mission is to provide access to high quality education that promotes student learning, to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential and to support the economic development of the state.