Grain Valley voting on MCC option

By Mike Genet
The Examiner

Voters in eight metro area school districts, including Grain Valley, will decide Tuesday if their districts will become part of the Metropolitan Community Colleges district, giving students from those districts access to nearly 50 percent lower tuition rates for MCC classes.

If approved, property owners would be assessed a 21-cent tax levy per $100 assessed value. For Grain Valley and Oak Grove voters in Jackson County, that equates to about $40 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home.

Voters in the Raymore-Peculiar, Harrisonville, Platte County, Smithville, Kearney and Liberty districts will also be voting on the question Tuesday. Each school district vote is separate from all others, and a simple majority is needed in any particular district to be attached to the MCC district.

Independence, Blue Springs, Fort Osage and Lee’s Summit are already part of the MCC district.

Students in those districts, including dual credit and early college students still in high school, pay about $107 tuition per credit hour at the MCC campuses. Students from unattached districts can also attend MCC, but for them it’s $198 per credit hour.

In election material, MCC officials say workforce needs in the metro are high, but higher education costs keep some people from obtaining the necessary skills and certifications to fill those jobs. Lower tuition can help provide greater access to that education, and numerous studies have shown those with higher education in some form will have more career earnings than a high school graduate.

MCC says it can also expand its resources due to having a larger tax base. 

If voters in a K-12 school district do not approve the MCC attachment and subsequent tax levy, students will still be subject to the higher tuition rate.