JANESVILLE, Wis. -

The president of Blackhawk Technical College is promising the school will do its best to serve students despite the rejection of a $4 million referendum.

Voters rejected the referendum Tuesday with 57 percent voting against it.
Campus officials said they have been working around funding cuts since 2011, and were asking for the community for help to expand programs available to students.

“The loss at the voting booth will not alter our mission to serve our students, District constituents, and area employers with the best programs and quality education we can provide,” President Tom Eckert said in a statement.

He said difficult financial decisions made in recent years would not have changed had the referendum passed. Eckert said they have cut $4.9 million and 24 positions over the past three years, and are now using reserve funding.

“Even though the referendum was not approved, Blackhawk Technical College will continue to investigate ways to strengthen our current programs and find innovative ways to deliver our services to the Rock and Green county communities,” he wrote.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and Beloit Economic Development Corp. supported the referendum because of the college's impact on the workforce.

The college's last referendum in 2002 was for $17.5 million, which paid for building expansions.