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State Legislature won't fund Bitterroot Valley Community College

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February 20, 2009View for printing

“These are the statutes and these are the laws of this state and we have followed everything by the letter,” Rogala said. “What does it say about the education system in general that they are not willing to welcome a new group to the table?”

In a 5-4 vote, the Montana Senate’s Education Committee has decided not to authorize a new community college in the Bitterroot Valley.

The committee’s action tabled SJ12, a resolution that would have legally established the Bitterroot Valley Community College without funding until 2011.

The vote effectively ends a three-year effort by advocates to establish a locally controlled two-year institution.

By SEPP JANNOTTA of the Ravalli Republic

Full Story: ... ws/br32.txt

Reader Comments:

Greetings BVCC supporters and interested parties--

By now many of you may know that the BVCC died during Executive Action of the Senate Education and Cultural Resources on February 18. Voting for the BVCC were Senators Laible, Stewart-Peregoy, Brown, and Hamlett. Voting against the BVCC were Senators Hawks, McGee, Ripley, Zinke, and Branae. Ripley and Zinke gave no reason for their "nay" vote, while Hawks stated that he didn't believe the community was really behind the college and that per his conversation with George Dennison (UM President) what Ravalli County really seemed to need was a COT (College of Technology); McGee said he was voting against the new college because he didn't believe in mandatory levies; and, Branae said that although he supported 2-year education he was reluctant to vote for this particular proposal.

All in all, the Montana University System (MUS) simply had too much influence for us to overcome. Decisions were made based on false understandings of Montana's 2-year education system. The process weighed heavily in favor of maintaining the status quo. We are now left to pick up the pieces and make do with the scraps.

In a final call to action regarding the BVCC, I urge you to write and thank the Senators who were brave and principled enough to support our community's efforts. Likewise, I urge you to write and express your frustration to the Senators who failed to take the time to listen to our community and understand the complexity of this issue.

With much appreciation to all the BVCC supporters and hard working volunteers, on behalf of the BVCC Trustees-elect and BVCC Steering Committee, I thank you for your willingness to be visionaries in a hostile climate.

Best to all,

Victoria Clark

BVCC Steering Committee Spokesperson

(406) 821-1682

No way should there be a new college in the Bitteroot unless privately owned (which means no new college in todays economy). With the internet and online colleges, extension, night classes, closeness to Missoula, it is ridiculous and irresponsible to try unless a local business will fully pay for it.

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