Question 5: Community Colleges

The Gist

Approving this question would allow the state to borrow $15 million to upgrade facilities at all 7 of Maine’s community colleges.

Ballot Question

“Do you favor a $15,000,000 bond issue to improve educational programs by upgrading facilities at all 7 of Maine's community colleges in order to provide Maine people with access to high-skill, low-cost technical and career education? ” [2]

Yes Means

I support borrowing money for community college facility upgrades.

No Means

I do not want to borrow money for community college facility upgrades.

Tell Me More

If this question is approved, it will allow the state to borrow up to $15 million to upgrade laboratories, information technology, and facilities at all Maine’s community colleges. [1]

This is a bond issue -- if voters approve the bond, it means that the State of Maine is allowed to borrow money for the project described in the ballot question and has to pay it back over 10 years. [3] Learn more about how bonds work.

Follow the Money

Principal: $15,000,000

Interest: $4,125,000 (assumes 5.0% over 10 years)

Total cost: $19,125,000 [4]

The money will be used to:

  • $4,275,100 to Southern Maine Community College for “facility repairs, energy efficiencies, space for student support and remediation, information technology system, and instructional and library services.” [1]

  • $2,503,755 to Central Maine Community College for “instructional laboratories, information technology infrastructure, and heating and ventilating systems.” [1]

  • $2,233,082 to Eastern Maine Community College for “information technology systems, natural gas heating systems, and other campus-wide energy efficiencies.” [1]

  • $2,190,731 to Kennebec Valley Community College for “equipment for new program in millwrighting and industrial mechanics, information technology infrastructure, instructional and library technologies, and window insulation.” [1]

  • $1,746,360 to York County Community College for “information technology system and development of the Industrial Trades Center.” [1]

  • $1,165,119 to Northern Maine Community College for “diesel hydraulics program laboratory, information technology infrastructure, heating and ventilation systems, energy efficiencies, and classroom renovations.” [1]

  • $885,853 to Washington County Community College for “instructional laboratories, information technology systems, and instructional technologies.” [1]

The money will be coming from:

  • A $15 million bond issued by the state and paid back through the budget and taxes over 10 years.

Pros

The primary arguments for this referendum are:

  • Improved infrastructure will make Maine’s community colleges last longer.

  • Improving laboratories and information technology will provide better education to students and provide better educated workers to Maine employers.

  • Interest rates are currently low, making it a good time to invest. [3]

Cons

The primary arguments against this referendum are:

  • Some believe the community colleges should pay for the improvements themselves.

  • Maine already has $106,258,509 in outstanding bond debt that this will add to and it could lead to increased taxes. [4]

Who Cares

Nobody has registered support or opposition to this bond. [1]

Further Reading

Full Text

Ballotpedia Article

References

[1] Ballotpedia State Desk. Maine Question 5, Community Colleges Bond Issue (2018). Ballotpedia.  Accessed October 11, 2018.

[2] Maine State Legislature. L.D. 836. Accessed October 11, 2018

[3] League of Women Voters. League of Women Voters, Maine 2018 General Election Voter Guide (2018). Accessed October 11, 2018.

[4] Dunlap, Matthew. Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election. Accessed October 11, 2018.