I have not been a big fan of the Milwaukee Area Technical College given the fact that we, in Germantown, have no real voice in any of the decisions taken by the leadership of MATC nor do we have any control over the cost of running that institution. We are not consulted about benefits or compensation or expenditures of any nature. We get our tax bills and we pay whatever the amount is that has been determined by the MATC to be needed by the MATC.
MATC is not alone; the statewide technical college system is operated similarly. The various technical colleges make their decisions and the taxes required are added to the various community tax bills.
Many communities in Wisconsin do not find themselves in the position of Germantown, however. We are at the extreme northern edge of the MATC district and yet we are also adjacent to the Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) which has a campus in West Bend, our county seat.
We tilted at this windmill a while back without success of any significant measure. The library received some new computers that MATC claimed had always been destined for that facility. There was no connection attributed although the timing was a bit convenient. The officials of MATC held some public meetings to help us understand how important that institution was to our welfare, and to reinforce the fact, from their perspective, that we received solid value for our tax dollar contributions.
The formal request for a change in our affiliation was denied. The political will was not present, given the party power split in Madison, to enter into the fray. That may’ve changed now. MATC saw some change laid on it so far as the manner in which its Board is determined, for example.
The difference, from a monetary point-of-view, would be some $1,400,000 per year for Germantown taxpayers. That is the difference between what we are now paying for the MATC as contrasted with what we would pay for the MPTC if we were to become part of that institution’s prescribed area of service. There is no limit as to who can go where in the technical college system. Just because we are sending tax dollars to MATC, that doesn’t mean our residents cannot attend a MPTC course.
Maybe the political will exists to take the changes in the technical college system further. Maybe Germantown could save $1,400,000 annually and simply be part of the MPTC system which seems to either have lower costs or wiser budgeting or a combination of the two. Maybe this is something that will resonate with our Assembly Representative and with our Senator and with their respective bodies. And maybe the landscape in Madison would support such change.
Is it time to revisit?