Last week, the College of DuPage's president asked the Board of Trustees to endorse a plan to spend $50 million on a building in order to get $20 million in state funds he was confident Governor Pat Quinn would provide to the school. After the president's email to the board became public, the governor withdrew the offer. Kathy Hamilton, a member of the College of DuPage Board, was the lone vote against the president's plan. She asked us to print the following disclaimer:
Kathy Hamilton, CPA is the Vice Chairman at the College of DuPage and must assert her First Amendment right in this op-ed as a citizen because of board policy restricting member speech.
By Kathy Hamilton, CPA -
We all want to meet the educational needs of our community. I take that goal very seriously as the Vice Chairman at the College of DuPage. Last week the COD board voted for a $50 million building for new classrooms. I was the only board member that opposed that investment. I felt the project warranted further analysis and definition of scope in terms of funding.
The $50 million project was to be funded by existing COD cash of $30 million and tentatively $20 million from the state. The state funding was uncertain and the appropriateness of linking the $20 million to the building project has recently come into question by Governor Quinn.
The total size of this project was being determined funding. If the state provided the $20 million, it was a $50 million project. If the state didn’t provide the funding it was a $30 million project. The request for additional classroom space should have included a complete assessment of current and future needs. This investment should have been measured against a defined business model and strategic plan and should have be an open and transparent starting point for decisions. The impact of any investment on a strategic plan should have been clear or made clear. This was not done.
It is your money: your state income taxes, your property taxes and your student tuition. It is in the best interest of the community, the college and its students that board decisions as well as the circumstances under which they are made see the light of day. We need to stop expansion for expansion sake. Our community deserves better.