Friday, October 30, 2009

Down; Up

Virginia Western Community College has become the latest to announce cuts of positions as their budget goes down while enrollment goes up. At VWCC it was two layoffs and 15 retirements that balanced the books... for now. Unless revenues pick up, there could be more layoffs there and at other community colleges in about six months.
The story has been echoed at many other community colleges. Some school have have been able to minimize the impact on the classroom by savings in energy use, conferences, travel, maintenance, etc. Most schools are utilizing more part-time faculty who, because they don't receive benefits, are less expensive on a per student basis. Some full-time faculty are teaching an extra class. Class sizes are up.
Virginia's community colleges do not cap enrollment. Unlike UVA or JMU who can meet some budget constraints by limiting the number of students accepted, our community colleges take everyone. And those numbers are increasing as unemployed Virginians seek new job skills or look to get a great tuition deal on basic courses that will transfer to a four-year college. Community colleges are reporting double digit enrollment increases, with some experiencing jumps of 25-30%.
With expectations that Virginia's budget situation will get worse before it gets better, pressure will increase on community colleges - budgets are likely to go down while enrollments continue to go up. Governor Kaine's last budget, the new governor, and the General Assembly should recognize the importance of community colleges in building a trained and skilled workforce for the state. If at all possible, the Virginia Community College System should be spared additional cuts - the 23 colleges, located on 40 campuses, serving some 262,444 students do too much good work to be slammed again.


Anonymous said...

Why did the last two Democrat governors let this happen ? Bob McDonnell will fix this problem when he takes office.

Anonymous said...

the last two dem governors got butt (%@&^$ by the bush economy collapse. bd won't fix crap. he's already said he'd take money form educ for roads

Anonymous said...

Unemployment was NEVER as high when GWB was in office as it is now even after BHO passed a trillion dollar stimulus bill.Unemployment is at a 27 year high. I wonder how long you left wing party hacks will try to blame GWB. When is BHO going to step up to the plate for his failures.