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College of the Mainland
State Funding Issues
by Garrett Bryce
Monday, April 04, 2011

College of the Mainland is seeking to retain staff while adjusting the college’s budget to manage a reduction of state funding allocations of $10 million over the next two years.

College of the Mainland President Dr. Michael Elam said the anticipated reduction due to state budget cuts, approximately $5 million per year, equals almost one-third of the college’s budget.

“I think we’ve gone from state-supported to state assisted to now we’re just located in the state,” Elam said in an interview with Guidry News Service. Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

The college’s board of trustees last week approved a declaration of a financial exigency, which allows the college to lay-off staff through a reduction in force, if necessary.

“Since the college is about 80 percent human resources, we are just taking some steps, measures, to give us the flexibility to take whatever steps are necessary,” Elam said.

The college has taken steps to cut costs to avoid layoffs, such as issuing retirement incentives to eligible employees.

“We’ve had a significant interest in that, and in fact we have received more than 50 percent of the people who are eligible have participated in that,” Elam said.

The college will be also increasing tuition and student fees to cope with the reduction in funds, according to Elam, with a $5 increase for in-district tuition and a $9-10 increase for out-of-district tuition.

“Unfortunately, we’ve got to accommodate the loss somehow,” Elam said.

He said student population was a “saving grace” for the college, with an 11 percent increase in student enrollment during the last year. The college has placed an $86 million bond proposal on the May 14 election ballot to fund the construction of facilities for handling the growth in student population. Bond Information

Additional steps the college has under consideration is not hiring to fill vacant positions, restructuring the organization of the college, and re-allocating resources.

“We’re preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best,” Elam said.

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