Clinton Community College provides tremendous value to the region, and we would hate to see that change.

Unfortunately, the college is struggling financially and is asking the Clinton County Legislature for a hefty increase in funding.

The legislature must weigh what the college offers the community against what it costs.

The college has been a mainstay in local academia since 1966.

Perched on a majestic bluff overlooking Lake Champlain, the former elite hotel resort has to be one of the most spectacular campuses in the nation.

But CCC offers plenty more than just grand views.

It is the perfect place for students who may have struggled in high school, but want to continue their education.

It is also attractive to those who know what they want, but are looking for a more affordable alternative. Spending two years at Clinton, or any other junior college, before heading to a four-year program is a great way to save money and still get the education needed.

CCC is also a great option for adult students who want to go back to school in order to better their lives.

The school has many fine programs that prepare students for a successful career.

It also offers unique and specialized education in many areas, including the popular manufacturing and technology program.

Workers for many of the area's specialized businesses, especially in the transportation and aviation field, can get a leg up on obtaining a well-paying job by attending a CCC program.

Providing all of these programs and opportunities is wonderful, but they cost money.

CCC's budget proposal for the 2019-20 school year is actually down about $450,000 from last year.

The school, under the leadership of President Ray DiPasquale, has cut costs in order to deal with dwindling revenue.

Employees have been asked to take a look at early retirement, there is only one commencement ceremony in the spring instead of one in the winter as well, and 21 positions, including two administrative roles, remain unfilled.

Lower enrollments and less state aid are two of the biggest financial hurdles CCC has to contend with.

The college will be debuting a welding program in this fall semester and a drone program in the spring.

CCC is also looking to bolster its athletics program, hoping to regain some of the prominence it enjoyed in 2010 when the women's soccer team won a National Championship.

Hopefully these improvements will help increase enrollment.

To make things work financially, CCC is seeking $295,593 from the county, a 10 percent increase.

We urge legislators to agree to the request when they vote next week, knowing what value CCC brings to the region.

The county is in good financial shape and can probably sustain the lift, but such requests cannot continue to be the norm year in and year out.

While the county may be solid financially now, it, like any municipality, is one disaster away from trouble.

And with New York state constantly hitting local governments with unfunded mandates, county governments would be wise to be as frugal as possible without cutting services.

Re-structuring CCC's financial model can be daunting, but we hear attitudes on campus are good, and the spirit of cooperation is strong.

We hope that leads to an improved budget picture and continued delivery of important academic options for the North Country well into the future.

The region, in many ways, depends on it.

 

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