Officials from the Newton Development Corporation have unveiled a plan to offer Newton High School graduates free tuition to one of the state’s three public universities, 15 community colleges and at least one private college. Newton Development Corporation Executive Director Kim Didier says the plan is called “Newton Promise.” She says it has “created some excitement and energy within the community.”
Funding for the program would come from both public and private sources. Didier says they will first look to the Newton City Council for start up funds. She says voters will go to the polls on March 28th to vote on a local option sales tax. She says they’re asking the Newton City Council to allocate 40-percent of the revenues for economic development with the initial program the “Newton Promise.”
Didier says they are also proposing the issuance of a five-million dollar bond to be paid for by proceeds from the local option sales tax if it is approved by voters. Newton Development Corporation will also move ahead with an aggressive private funding campaign.
Didier says the program would be a great economic development tool for the area. She says there’s no other way to really promote economic development than creating a talent pool for local businesses and businesses looking to relocate. A similar idea was initiated in Kalamazoo, Michigan.