Northeast Iowa Community College will ask voters to renew a tax levy that has been in place for 47 years.

At last week's meeting, the NICC Board of Trustees passed a resolution authorizing NICC to proceed with placing the renewal of its 20¼-cent facilities tax levy on the Sept. 10 school board ballot.

The tax levy is valid for a 10-year period and has to be renewed by a simple majority of district voters in order for the levy to be continue for another 10 years. This levy has already been renewed seven times since it began in 1966 and remains unchanged at 20¼ cents. Because this facilities tax levy is already part of the 93-cent total tax rate that NICC will be assessing in 2013-14, approval by voters to renew the levy will not increase taxes.

In other matters, the Board approved 260E Iowa New Jobs Training Program funding that supports the creation of 106 new jobs with an estimated issuance of $750,000 for Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc., in Dubuque. NICC will deliver supervisory/management and customer service representative training for the company, a leader in innovative claims and productivity management solutions for major employers.

NICC Vice President Dr. Wendy Mihm-Herold also shared that a visit by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds to the Regional Academy for Math and Science (RAMS) Center in Oelwein last Friday, April 12, was productive and educational. Reynolds enjoyed meeting high school students in the Project Lead the Way program who were working on STEM coursework.

Dr. Linda Peterson, vice president of student services, reported that halfway through a five-year federal Title III grant, the college has successfully incorporated many upgrades that enhance its ability to improve technology and services for NICC students. With the funding, NICC has launched a new website, moved toward electronic documentation and paperless organization with Softdocs software, implemented PeopleAdmin talent management software in human resources, increased online services, improved wireless connectivity across the district, and provided advanced technology training for staff and faculty.

Dr. Amy Esterhuizen, Peosta campus provost, and Rhonda Seibert, Calmar campus provost, shared recent grant successes for each of the campuses. The Winneshiek County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, awarded two grants to the Calmar campus: one for building a new outdoor learning environment and playground for the Child Development Center and another to the NICC Foundation to support a new Vet2Vet mentoring program on the Calmar campus.

Seibert shared that the Child Development Center has raised funds for the playground area project for three years.

Additional grants through the Rockwell Collins Green Communities Grant Program have funded environmental sustainability projects for two consecutive years at the Peosta campus and for three straight years at the Calmar campus, the provosts noted. This year, the Rockwell Collins grants support the creation of a bioswale, a landscape element designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water, at the entrance of the outdoor learning lab at Peosta and tree plantings for another shelter-belt at the Calmar campus.

Dr. Kathleen Nacos-Burds, vice president of Academic Affairs, announced that this year's commencement ceremonies are at Decorah High School Thursday, May 16, at 7 p.m.