Pulaski Tech College asking tax-payers for much needed revenue

NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV)--If a much needed millage tax doesn't pass; programs at Pulaski Technical College could be on the chopping block according to PTC's President,{}Margaret Ellibee.

A special election on Tuesday will call for tax-payers to vote on a 1.9 mills per dollar millage tax increase. If this millage tax passes, it will generate about $11.4 million.

Much needed revenue according to the college's president, as they're currently only receiving about half the funding recommended by the state's higher education department.

Around 10,500 students attend Pulaski Technical College. It's the largest two-year college in the state, but only receives half the level of state funding recommended by the higher education department.

"One of the other challenges that Pulaski Tech faces is they've seen a rapid rise in enrollment over the last decade and state funding has stayed relatively flat," said Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director, Shane Broadway.

PTC receives about $17 million through state general revenue and work force 2000 funds; despite the state's higher education department recommending the $31 million needed to operate.

"Most of the general revenue going to education has had to go to K-12 and not the institutions of higher education over the last several years because of the Lakeview lawsuit," added Broadway.

The outcome of the 2002 Lakeview case ruled that the state must ensure every child in Arkansas receives an adequate education.

During the recent fiscal session, $65 million was appointed to fund K through 12, while higher education will only be getting $5 million in new funds.

"We have to have an educational system that is K through life, and the K-12 system is doing great, we have to have that higher education system so when those 12th graders come to us we can give them a very quality education," said Pulaski Technical College President, Margaret Ellibee.

Several needed priorities for PTC include improvements to their academic advising department, renovating math and science labs on the main campus in North Little Rock and on-going operational costs.

"We have 10,000 students{} who need quality services for their education and that's going to be a challenge for us to maintain that little own grow that in the future if we don't have this millage," added Ellibee.

The special election will be held this Tuesday at all regular polling places in Pulaski County. If the millage is passed, a home worth $100,000 will have to pay about $38 more annually in property taxes.