PLATTSBURGH — County legislators are interested in what Clinton Community College is doing to increase enrollment.
“If your FTEs (full-time equivalents) have been declining by about 2 percent every year and the Clinton County contribution has been increasing by about 3 percent every year, really the Clinton County contribution on a FTE (full-time equivalent) basis has been going up by about 5 percent every year,” County Legislator Colin Read told CCC officials following a presentation of the college’s 2014-15 budget at a recent meeting of the County Finance Committee.
And with high-school classes also getting smaller, he continued, CCC is competing with other community colleges for the same piece of a shrinking pie.
The two-year schools that will succeed, Read noted, are those offering vocational and workforce training.
“I want to ask you what we’re really doing to bring in the nontraditional students that we really haven’t fully tapped,” he said.
After all, Read added, “you’re going to be coming back here every year basically asking for 5 percent more per student if we continue doing what we’ve been doing.”
CCC Vice President for Administration and Finance Lisa Shovan agreed with the legislator.
“While we’re here asking for an additional increase in the county support, we — as a college, administration and staff and faculty — plan on working to realign ourselves with the change in the enrollment and what is being requested and needed in the community,” she said.
The school is now putting a strong emphasis on providing workforce training for the local manufacturing sector, CCC Board of Trustees Chairwoman Nina Coolidge added at the meeting.
In fact, she noted, the college recently hired a manufacturing engineer to assist with a new manufacturing technology program, which has been submitted to the state for approval.
“That is the kind of direction we have to go in, and we know it,” Coolidge said.
Also at the meeting, County Legislator Jonathan Beach asked if the college is “looking at redundant programs that other institutions also offer that you may save money in cutting.”
While it will take some time, Shovan responded, CCC is in the process of evaluating all of its programs in that sense.
“We’re in a whole new era, and we’re taking a very close look at where are we and where are we going,” added CCC Interim President Fred Smith.
County Legislator James Langley Jr.said he appreciates the college’s efforts to educate the county’s students.
“The school counselors have got to recognize that your school is the best bargain there is, (and) no matter where a student is at, they should spend a couple years at Clinton Community College,” fellow Legislator John Gallagher added.
It is evident in the college’s budget, Legislator and Finance Committee Chairperson Mark Dame noted, that all of CCC’s stakeholders are invested in supporting the school.
“Everybody’s taken a little bit more responsibility for the budget shortfalls, so the pain is shared, and I think that is a good policy,” he said.
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