Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Nichole Karpel


The study site, a rural community college, placed a property tax levy on the ballot in November 2017 to provide much needed additional funding to the financially struggling institution. The problem of the study is the levy failed. College administrators have determined that the levy proposition should be reissued, yet administrators do not have a clear understanding as to what went wrong in 2017. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine community members’ perceptions about the way community members voted on the study site’s replacement levy proposition. Lewin’s change management model and his force field analysis were used as the conceptual framework for the identification of the positive and negative forces affecting the outcome of the tax levy proposition. The research question focused on community member perceptions about the tax levy vote. A basic qualitative design using purposeful sampling was used for semi-structured interviews of 12 participants to examine community members’ perceptions about the tax levy proposition and its outcome. The study criteria consisted of a minimum age of 18, and an address within the study site’s in-district region. Emergent themes were identified through causation coding. Findings were developed and checked for trustworthiness through member checking, rich descriptions, and researcher reflexivity. Findings revealed specific areas of improvement focused on strengthening ties with the community. A white paper project was created to present to college leaders with a summary of findings and recommendations for organizational change and community outreach. Community colleges needing to pass a levy could use study results and project recommendations to increase the likelihood of passing a levy campaign and generating funding needed to meet community educational needs.