Calhoun College to get $1.6 million
By M.J. Ellington
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MONTGOMERY — Calhoun Community College is the most underfunded college in the system, but the state's new two-year chancellor has plans for change, starting with a special $1.6 million appropriation.
The money announced Thursday will enable the school to finish the math and science building now under way.
Chancellor Bradley Byrne said Calhoun is the most underfunded college in the system, based on a distribution formula that dates back 45 years to the beginning of the system.
A 1994 freeze in funding percentage increase compounded the problem.
Byrne estimates that the additional funds will put the college about 25 percent of the way toward his goal of funding equity compared to other colleges in the system. He hopes other funding to even the score will follow in future years.
Rapid student growth and expansion at Calhoun followed a 1994 formula freeze that kept all system college appropriations at the same percentage levels they were the previous year, said Debra F. Dahl, vice chancellor for fiscal and administrative services.
Much of the Calhoun growth that took place after that time was not factored into the college appropriation for that reason.
Calhoun President Marilyn Beck was on leave and unavailable for comment Thursday, but Dahl said the college will get the money in equal installments in June, July, August and September. The college must spend the funds by the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.
"They will use the funds to finish the new math and science building," Dahl said. "They were very excited."
Byrne said 10 colleges in the system historically receive funding below the average.
"That means 16 colleges were above average," he said.
The money will come from $8 million in chancellor's discretionary funds that Byrne said he wants to use to help even the appropriations balance.
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