The Southeast Community College Board of
Governors passed a resolution Thursday authorizing College President Dr.
Paul Illich to prepare for a potential bond issue that could be
included on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The special meeting took place on SCC's Lincoln Campus.
Board passed the resolution on a 10-1 vote, with Board member Don
Reiman of Virginia voting no. Sometime prior to Sept. 1 the Board could
decide whether to put the bond issue on the November ballot.
year SCC hired The Clark Enersen Partners of Lincoln to conduct a
10-year Facilities Master Plan for the College. The firm examined
existing facilities at all SCC locations and presented its findings in
late 2015. The plan calls for $508 million of construction, renovation
and reconfiguring of SCC's locations in Beatrice, Lincoln and Milford,
as well as six additional learning centers within the 15-county area
outside of Gage, Lancaster and Seward counties.
wanted to measure the level of support for a potential bond issue, and
Research Associates of Lincoln was hired to conduct a telephone survey
to measure the attitudes of registered voters living in SCC's 15-county
The survey was
administered Feb. 15-28. Survey questions covered topics related to
awareness of SCC, attitudes toward SCC programs, general attitudes
toward a bond issue, attitudes toward specific bond issue projects,
voting on a bond issue, and demographics.
Research Associates' Brendan Wamstad-Evans presented the results to the Board.
should feel really, really good about these survey results,"
Wamstad-Evans said. "Fifty-two percent of respondents said yes they had
attended an SCC class, and 67 percent said they had relatives who
attended SCC classes. You do a great job serving your constituents."
Responses to the final question of the survey got the attention of Research Associates.
that you know more about how the money would be spent, I'll ask again -
If an election were held today, would you vote for or against a $369
million bond issue to improve Southeast Community College facilities
across their 15-county service area, that would increase property taxes
on a $100,000 home by an estimated $39 per year?"
Sixty-three percent said yes, 37 percent said no.
that this hasn't been a heavy news item, that's a really strong voice
of support from constituents in the service area," Wamstad-Evans said.
second survey question was, "If an election were held today, would you
vote for or against a $369 million bond issue to improve Southeast
Community College facilities across their 15-county service area that
would increase property taxes on a $100,000 home by an estimated $39 per
Fifty-one percent were for, 34 percent were against, and 15 percent said they didn't know.
Associates said a sample of 1,202 randomly selected respondents
provided results that are statistically accurate within an expected
maximum error range of plus or minus 2.8 percent at a 95-percent
confidence level. Completed interviews were from both cell phones and
The sampling consisted of
registered voters in four primary groups: Gage, Lancaster and Seward
counties, and the remaining 12 counties called a "superzone."
on Question No. 23 by geographical area: Gage County - 55.8 percent
for, 44.2 percent against; Lancaster County - 64.5 percent for, 35.5
percent against; Seward County - 55.3 percent for, 44.7 percent against;
and Superzone - 59.9 percent for, 40.1 percent against.
Doug Evans and Barbara Derrick, who started Research Associates, also were in attendance.
"This was a well-designed poll," Wamstad-Evans said.
1,202 respondents were weighted to accurately reflect the actual number
of people living in each of the four geographical areas studied.
want to accurately represent metropolitan and rural areas,"
Wamstad-Evans said. "You want to make sure you're sampling rural voters
to ensure their voice is heard."
Among other survey findings:
· 79 percent of respondents agreed that SCC spends tax dollars wisely.
· To the statement, "We can't afford any new projects because taxes are too high," 51 percent disagreed.
To the statement, "SCC is a popular choice for students due to the high
cost of a university education," 93 percent agreed.
percent of survey respondents own their current residence. Nineteen
percent said they own farm property in Nebraska. Forty-seven percent
said they were Republican, while 38 percent said they were Democrat.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents took the survey on a cell phone.
whole point of the survey is that we have a good understanding of the
support that is out there," Illich said. "The last thing I want to do is
recommend that the Board move forward if we don't have evidence of
support. You want this survey to be solid. I did this for a lot of
years. I came to the same conclusion. I feel very comfortable about this
Illich said there were a
number of steps the College would take to prepare for a potential bond
issue, including hiring bond counsel and embarking on an information
campaign. The total amount of a bond issue would be determined in the
coming months, Illich said.
Sept. 1 is the deadline to place a bond issue on the November ballot.