From WILL - The Public Square -

Andrea Antulov on the upcoming Parkland Board of Trustees election

If you have children that are may go to Parkland College or may need retraining in a field and be eligible for financial aid, who is elected to the Parkland Board in April and the policies they support may make the difference between being able to get that education.

There are many policy factors that can affect the Parkland tuition. One position is design approval. The current design looks as though students the school must for future generations pay for the maintenance of a lengthy driveway the circumvents the school mimicking a road. Roads intrinsically cost more to maintain than parking lots. Did the just the recent redesign of the one of the entrances cost upwards of a million?

Many students at Parkland have full time jobs and families and are juggling one car between them. Many students are not eligible for financial aid and cannot afford a car in addition to tuition. Do those seeking power over the students lives, support adding a transit pass to the tuition?

This is just a couple of examples anyone regularly going to events there can deduce. What steps has the current administration taken to even make itself and the scope of its authority known to the current student population? I have not seen any letters from students at Parkland.

Parkland Community College is perhaps the only way many citizens who must work may be trained to enter a career to support a family. A large number of people go into debt attempting to better themselves who are not eligible for financial aid or employer paid tuition. It may be cheaper than the University but price still puts this community service out of reach. One class is about $300, the average wage that puts one out of the running for financial aid but necessary to live is about $8.50 an hour, do the math.

Now I learn that a seven million dollar equestrian facility (200 stalls, and two inside tracks, plus) has been approved by the Parkland board some of which are up for election in April. A Chamber of Commerce says this will bring 40 million dollars to the area. This will be in no doubt from wealthy participants of horse shows coming to town. Illinois has more horses than Kentucky, and supports 15,900 jobs in the state. However the equestrian program currently sends students into the field, at local farms. I assume these places get paid for their services. Will the lack of income hurt them? Since when is on-the-job-training not considered an asset? Is this a field a man with child support payments or a woman with a child would seek?

I believe growth is good. But I would like to see it built with some self sustaining features for the expensive maintenance. Lawsuits about stallion damage, emergency vet calls and students' bite scars or crushed spines can't be cheap. And I would like to know what other business and authoritative entities are willing to support this venture with a no interest loans. And what other plans does instituting this invite. Will the aromatic south farms moving to this location as well or will this stench be enough to devalue the expensive zero lots next to Parkland? Why can't the stalls and tracks already built in the Champaign County Fair Grounds near Urbana and a highway exit be utilized?

And on what time table will Parkland start to roll back tuition price tags? Yes, I am suggesting the Walmart smiling face grace the wallets of students.