Missouri Governor Mike Parson is showing his support for BoMOTC, a proposed partnership between the Bolivar R-1 School District and Ozarks Technical Community College.
“Since day one, workforce development has been a top priority of our administration, and while we have come a long way, this partnership between Bolivar School District and OTC will take us even further,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Not only will this partnership bring career and technical education training opportunities for students in Bolivar but to the surrounding rural communities as well, many of which have been historically overlooked. The First Lady and I join our local leaders in encouraging you to support this project that will strengthen our community and foster brighter futures for our families.”
BoMOTC is a question on the November 7th ballot, asking voters in the Bolivar School District to approve a $0.20 operating levy increase (per $100 of assessed value) to annex the Bolivar School District to OTC, effective on January 1, 2024. Here is the ballot language:
Shall the Bolivar R-1 School District of Polk County, Missouri, become a part of and be annexed to Ozarks Technical Community College (also known as the Community College District of Central Southwest Missouri) effective January 1, 2024? If this question is approved, the overall tax levy in the District will increase by the Community College tax levy of up to $0.20 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation and all residents of the School District will become eligible for reduced tuition at the in-district rate.
If BoMOTC passes in November, any person living in the Bolivar School District will be eligible for in-district tuition beginning on January 1, 2024. It would save Bolivar residents $60 per credit hour. But, because most courses are three credit hours, that equals $180 in savings per course.
The price of those savings comes from the $0.20 increase per $100 of assessed value in the operating levy for OTC. Based on Polk County Assessor data and the average residential assessment in Polk County, this measure would cost the average homeowner $41.74 per year or $3.78 per month. The economic return on that cost is offset by the first course taken and tuition savings of $60/credit hour. A family or individual also saves on transportation costs by accessing courses locally here in Bolivar.
Also showing their support for BoMOTC is Missouri State Senator Sandy Crawford, who serves Benton, Cedar, Dallas, Henry, Hickory, Pettis, Polk, St. Clair, and Vernon counties.
“Representing so many rural communities in the heart of Missouri gives me an understanding that access to career and technical education is vital and should be a top priority,” said Senator Crawford. “The Bolivar R-1 and OTC partnership will bring programs and education to not only Polk County but all our neighboring counties. Reducing tuition costs and travel time and increasing access for students and individuals looking to retrain or advance their career is a focus that I am honored to work on with Governor Parson. The Bolivar School District and OTC partnership will bring great opportunities and a positive economic impact to Polk County and the entire region.”
Over the past five years, 1,503 students from Polk County, 787 students from Bolivar have attended OTC, and 218 residents from Bolivar attended OTC last year. 20% of the 787 students were A+ students, and 28% enrolled in trade programs. Of those trade students, 100% stayed in Missouri after graduation, and 46% stayed in Polk County. Creating more affordable and increased access to career and technical education benefits Bolivar and surrounding communities' ability to achieve career success.
“I am proud of the efforts to bring career and technical education to Bolivar,” said Missouri State Representative Mike Stephens. “Access to these programs offers rural Missourians opportunities for retraining, career advancement, and technical education skills. This ensures Bolivar R-1, Hickory, and Polk County students and residents have the skills and education needed to meet the economic and job growth needs of the future. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our community to be an economic lifeline for countless of our citizens for years to come. I urge everyone to join me in supporting this fantastic project.”
“Our Board of Education is excited to see our partnership with OTC expand and bring more opportunities for not only our students but all Bolivar School District residents,” said Paula Hubbert, Bolivar School Board President. “This partnership is about the future and access to career and technical education that benefits everyone in the Bolivar School District.”
Dr. Richard Asbill, Superintendent of Bolivar R-1, explains the importance of BoMOTC:
“This ballot measure is the initial first step to providing enhanced career and technical education opportunities for all Bolivar R-1 patrons,” Asbill explained. “While our residents get the initial benefit of tuition cost reductions, we are also increasing access to all our Polk County neighbors. Students in this partnership include everyone, 18 and beyond, aunts, uncles, spouses, single parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and individuals looking for a new career opportunity. Our goal is to develop pathway opportunities for our students and neighbors to live, work, and play right here in Bolivar and Polk County.”
“The next step will be to work with Governor Parson, Senator Crawford, and Representative Stephens in an effort to bring a local OTC campus to Bolivar,” added Asbill. “This then creates additional access opportunities for Polk County and our surrounding counties to engage in career and technical education. Access to high-quality educational and career programs like OTC offers will be incredibly important as Missouri’s job market continues to grow.”
Here are some frequently asked questions about BoMOTC:
What is my tax money going towards?
The $0.20 per $100 of assessed valuation goes to OTC for the in-district tuition cost savings for everyone living in the Bolivar R-1 School District. The in-district tuition cost savings are $60 per credit hour. But, because most courses are three credit hours, that equals $180 in savings per course.
How much more in taxes am I going to pay?
Based on the Polk County Assessor data and the average residential assessment in Polk County, this measure would cost the average homeowner $41.74 more per year or $3.78 more per month. The Polk County assessed valuation of homes is significantly less than the market value or purchase price. Taxes are only calculated on assessed value, not market value.
Will OTC build a facility in Bolivar?
Governor Parson is working with the State Legislature to secure funding from the state to build an OTC facility in Bolivar. If state funding is approved, OTC would work with the Bolivar community to identify programs and services to be offered at the facility. If state funding is not provided, people living in the Bolivar R-1 School District would still have access to reduced tuition rates.
Does this tax money go to Bolivar Schools?
No, this money doesn't go to the Bolivar School District. It affords us the opportunity to partner with OTC and offer reduced tuition to all Bolivar R-1 School District residents. In order for OTC or the state legislature to consider this partnership, a local commitment has to be made. OTC campuses in Hollister, Republic, Lebanon, and Waynesville exist because of the local commitment made to join the OTC district.