What you need to know about the April 2019 election
Name: Michael Butler
Town: O’Fallon, IL
Position Seeking: SWIC Board of Trustees - District #5 (O’Fallon, Fairview, Caseyville)
Campaign website: Facebook.com/MichaelButlerForSWICBoard
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? A lifelong resident of Illinois, this state is my home and I care about it’s future. I am running for SWIC Board for two primary reasons. 1. Residents of Illinois and St. Clair County are facing one of the highest overall tax burdens in the nation. Politicians at the state and local level should be looking to reduce that burden. Instead, we see proposals to increase taxes (income, property, mileage, etc.) every day. SWIC has seen a 24% decrease in enrollment since 2013, yet they are taking more of our money (via property taxes) than ever before. You deserve representation that respects your hard-earned money. As your trustee, I will be diligent with your tax dollars ensure that they are being spent efficiently. 2. One of the biggest crises our state faces is the loss of population to other states. This out-migration is led by millennial taxpayers and millennial college students and is a direct threat to our state’s long-term financial stability and economic vitality. Our children and grandchildren are going to college in other states and never coming back. Ensuring that SWIC is a viable option for the next generation is critical to reversing that trend.
What are the most important issues the facing the community college, and how would you approach them? 1. Fiscal Irresponsibility. You deserve representation that respects your hard-earned tax dollars. I will pair my experience with my education (MBA) and ensure that your tax dollars are being spent wisely. 2. Public Safety. It is important that Students feel safe when pursuing an education. As your trustee, I will work to foster a stronger relationship between Public Safety, Belleville Police and the Sheriff’s Department.
Under what circumstances would you vote to raise property taxes or fees for the college? Illinoisans already face the highest overall tax burden and the second highest property tax burden in the nation. Families throughout the Metro East are paying more to SWIC in property taxes than ever before, If I am fortunate enough to represent the residents of SWIC Board District 5, I will look for every opportunity to reduce the burden placed on our residents by taxes and fees.
What are your goals for the community college/what do you want to accomplish? Education is important. And SWIC is a crucial part of our community. 1. Fiscal Responsibility SWIC Trustees work for the taxpayers that they represent. That is why it is critical that the SWIC Board lives within it means and that tax dollars are spent wisely. SWIC is struggling today, in part, because of decades of fiscal irresponsibility. As your Trustee, I will work diligently to ensure that SWIC spends your money efficiently! 2. Public Safety SWIC students and staff have expressed concerns regarding safety on campus, particularly at night. Students should not feel at risk when pursuing an education. As your Trustee, I will work to foster a stronger relationship between Public Safety, the Belleville Police and the Sheriff’s Department.
Enrollment has been dropping at community colleges around the state. How should schools try to reverse that trend? While we know SWIC is not the right path for everyone, we should make every effort to provide a high quality education at a reasonable price. For the first time in more than 50 years, there are more jobs in the United States than there are people to fill them. This is a direct result of the skills-gap. One of the priorities of SWIC should be preparing students for the workforce. One way to address the decrease in enrollment is to work alongside employers throughout the Metro East to address these skill gaps.