BCCC eyes more funding

Published 12:15 pm Saturday, March 15, 2008

By Staff
Community colleges will submit proposed budget to Legislature
Staff Writer
The State Board of Community Colleges adopted its budget request for fiscal year 2008-2009 on Friday.
The request will be presented to the General Assembly for consideration during its short session beginning May 13. The board’s adoption came during a meeting of the board.
The budget, totaling about $140 million, includes specific one-time appropriations for four of the 58 campuses in the community college system. Cape Fear Community College is asking for $8 million to replace a research ship. Beaufort County Community College President David McLawhorn was more interested in some of the subtler details of the proposal.
BCCC is expected to grow by about 6 percent when students enroll for the 2008 fall semester, McLawhorn said. That will net the college a slightly bigger piece of the $21 million the state system has asked for to cover expenses associated with regular growth.
McLawhorn said he and other community college officials are keeping their fingers crossed that a new funding calculation for health programs will pass with the budget. That calculation would fund nursing programs and other health-care related courses at 1.47 times the existing flat rate at which community college programs are normally funded. But the provision has not been made permanent.
The college could also stand to share in a $15 million pot for utility and grant funding, for which it has been passed over in the past two budget cycles, according to McLawhorn. The General Assembly made $15 million available to one-third of the 58 campuses two years ago and another third of the campuses last year, McLawhorn said. BCCC was included in neither allocation.
Funding from the state system will not cover costs associated with the new Early College High School set to open with about 60 students in August. The school, which will eventually serve about 200 students, will take over classroom space in BCCC’s Building 10 — also called the Public Safety Building. The college will then need a new building to house its Department of Correction classes, McLawhorn said.
Originally estimated to cost $275,000, McLawhorn said, the figure he will request from the county will be higher to meet the needs of the students and instructors. Aside from space issues associated with the new school, McLawhorn said, the new building is needed for the type of instruction corrections students receive.