I teach at Bitterroot College and believe that opportunities for education enrich lives. I’ve seen homeless single parents graduate and find jobs and many more students save over $3,000 per year in tuition fees.

I’ve witnessed lives changed for the better because of Bitterroot College.

Yet BC is in danger. As an unfunded mandate of the University of Montana, our budget continues to be reduced. We offer fewer classes than in past years and have only grassroots resources for marketing. I want to see UM succeed. But we are best positioned as a partner institution instead of a subordinate.

BC can’t continue to operate under these budget restrictions. If we close, higher education for Ravalli County citizens will go too.

Yet there is hope. Bitterroot College can transition to an independent community college. First, Ravalli County residents need to sign our petition and put this initiative to a local vote.

Yet we need your help with signatures.

Drop by the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA) on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 274 Old Corvallis Road to sign, or find our volunteers at public locations like outside the Hamilton Post Office on Saturdays mornings.

We want to work with local businesses to develop programs that create jobs here through trades and healthcare programming. We want to offer tuition similar to our present bargain of under $4,000.

If you want Bitterroot College to keep its doors open then please sign our petition.

For more information, visit bvcommunitycollege.org.

— Matthew Kaler, Hamilton