Chancellor seeking new funding formula for growing Calhoun
By Bayne Hughes
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Chancellor Bradley Byrne said Tuesday that he plans to present a new funding formula to the state Legislature that he hopes will correct the underfunding of Calhoun Community College.
Byrne, who heads the state two-year college system, has already made a special $1.6 million continuing appropriation to Calhoun from his discretionary fund, which had $8 million remaining when he became chancellor May 24.
He said community colleges like Calhoun, Jefferson State and Faulkner State fall into this underfunded category because their budgets haven't kept up with their growth.
Dean of Finance Jack Burrows said Calhoun has a $60 million budget, which includes about $12 million in restricted funds and federal grants. Byrne said the college receives only 74 percent of the state funds it should receive.
Although Calhoun is the largest community college in the state, underfunding has been particularly a problem since the state froze the budget in 1995. The problem got bigger when enrollment exploded and went over 9,000 students in 2003-04.
Marilyn Beck became Calhoun's president in 2003. She said it has been difficult to operate without enough money. She said this kept the college from adding programs, forced it to depend heavily on federal grants and required the use of more adjunct instructors.
The school also had to delay roof and building renovations.
Beck said she is still understaffed in recruiters and advisers.
"Our staff has done a wonderful job of doing more with less," she said.
Byrne said colleges should get credit for the work-force development and technical programs they offer because these programs are usually more expensive.
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