Coen asks county for support for SCC academy
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Winfield-Mt. Union Superintendent Pat Coen has asked that the Henry County Board of Supervisors put their support behind a proposed regional academy partnership with Southeastern Community College.
“I would hate to see the opportunity to collaborate with SCC slip by,” Coen told the board of supervisors on Tuesday morning.
Earlier this month, the City of Winfield passed a resolution declaring its support for the academy, and the W-MU School Board has also shown its support. Now, Coen has approached the supervisors because having the county’s support would provide more opportunities for grant funding.
The regional academy would provide a physical location in Winfield for SCC courses to be taught. W-MU students would be able to potentially leave W-MU with their associate’s degree.
“It would have a positive impact on instruction,” said Coen. “We’re not just pushing them to a four-year degree, but we’re also pushing them to success later in life with a two-year degree.”
He said that the trend in education is to push students towards pursuing a four-year degree. However, he said, data shows that roughly 80 percent of students that start a four-year degree do not finish.
Also, Coen noted that many of the jobs in the county require a two-year degree or high school diploma. Students who receive a four-year degree often move elsewhere for work, which can decreases the local workforce.
“This is an opportunity to bring strength that will remain local,” said Coen.
Of course, if a student chooses to pursue a four-year degree, the credits they take at the academy could transfer to another college or university, allowing them to complete their degree sooner.
Students would be able to take some general education classes, but the academy would have an emphasis on agriculture.
“We have to really embrace who we are, and Iowa is agriculture,” said Coen.
If the supervisors choose to show their support for the academy, a resolution will be passed at a future meeting. However, Supervisor Vice Chairman Marc Lindeen did voice his support of the academy on Tuesday.
“I applaud your efforts, Pat,” Lindeen told Coen. “ I think it’s the way to go.”
Other business Tuesday morning, the supervisors considered the approval of a fireworks permit, but chose to table the topic until the county attorney could be consulted.
The issue comes from the fact that fireworks are actually illegal in the state of Iowa, although some counties — Henry County included — approve permits for residents wishing to set off firework displays.
However, County Auditor Shelly Barber noted, the permit “is not worth the paper it’s written on,” because the resident can still be fined for the fireworks.
Before approving the permit, the supervisors wanted to find out whether they could approve it or wheth