Education cuts will wound CCC

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Additional proposed state spending reductions for community colleges are worse than anticipated. The Arizona State Legislature announced Jan. 16 it is rescinding an additional $12-million from the state's community college system for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009. For Coconino Community College, that equates to an anticipated 8 percent decrease from an already pared down budget, and an additional 15 percent cut is expected for FY 2010.

This news comes on top of an already 17 percent cut of state funding for CCC in July with the beginning of FY 2008.

"Since its inception, CCC always has been financially fragile because of the local property tax rate, which is the lowest in the state. Cuts of this magnitude will devastate the college and its service to Coconino County," said CCC President Leah L. Bornstein.

CCC has been following a three-tiered sustainable financial plan since May and has been able to find ways to make up 90 percent of the original 17 percent cut.

"Our staff has been incredibly resourceful and creative in brainstorming and implementing solutions to be more efficient," said Bornstein. "All of us will continue to work that plan through the next few years during this crisis."

This news has CCC taking a hard look at services, programs and employee benefits that may be cut, possible work furloughs, and increased tuition and fees.

"I sincerely hope that the state's funding cuts do not cripple higher educational institutions to the point that they will take years to recuperate," said Bornstein. "Education is part of the solution for workforce development and economic recovery."

State appropriations currently fund more than 20 percent of CCC's $18-million budget. Personnel costs make up 75 percent of the budget; operating costs account for 25 percent.

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