DARKE COUNTY — The Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) in Englewood will be seeking voter support from 27 school districts across nine counties next week, including Darke County. The requested 1.43 mill levy, according to the organization’s website, would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 an additional $4.18 per month.
“Right now we’re turning away 200-300 students a year because we’ve run out of space,” Superintendent Nick Weldy said. Funds from the levy would allow the school to expand their available square footage by 50 percent, as well as update the plumbing and electrical systems in various buildings.
Forty-seven percent of the funds needed for this remodel and expansion will come from the state, while the remainder would be covered by the levy.
“I’d rather ask for 53 percent than 100 percent,” Weldy said.
MVCTC accepts students from every school district in Darke County except Greenville, which has its own career tech program, according to Weldy. During the 2016-17 school year, 767 students from Darke County attended the school, including 344 participating in satellite agriculture programs at schools such as Arcanum, Franklin Monroe and Tri-Village.
And with that influx of students come a great deal of concerns.
“One of our biggest concerns is bringing our safety infrastructure up to speed,” Weldy said. “Right now we’re a very open campus, like a college.”
A portion of the levy funds would go toward purchasing high definition security cameras, electronically controlled access doors, and badges that would not only limit access to most areas to students and staff, but also allow students to be located on campus electronically in the event of an emergency.
“We have 850 of the most precious things in the world to somebody on our campus every single day,” Weldy said. “That’s something we don’t take lightly.”
Levy funds would also allow the school to update equipment in their various training facilities, including those geared toward manufacturing and various healthcare-related fields, in order to ensure that CTC students continue to be trained using the latest, most up-to-date equipment in their industry.
“A lot of employers in the area depend on us to provide their workforce,” Weldy said. “Students have to choose to come here, so if we don’t have students, those companies don’t have employees.”
In particular, according to Weldy, many students are being turned away from popular programs such as sports medicine, dental assisting, nursing, physical therapy, criminal justice, and graphic arts. Some of these fields are so in demand that graduates typically find themselves fielding up to four or five different job offers apiece. But the school can’t accept those students unless they have the space to accommodate them.
“We’re just here to help these kids,” Weldy said, “and to make sure the companies we work with have the right employees, so they’ll continue to grow and continue to locate in Ohio. That’s in everyone’s best interest.”