Proposed bill would add revenue for CNCC | CraigDailyPress.com
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Proposed bill would add revenue for CNCC

Joshua Roberts

— Colorado Northwestern Community College officials are keeping an eye on a proposed legislative bill that, if approved, would add needed revenue for expanded programs and staffing.

Senate Bill 85 proposes to appropriate money from the general fund for community colleges, occupational education and Colorado State University-Pueblo.

The bill proposes $16.3 million for community colleges.

If approved, it would add $1,000 per full-time equivalency student per year to CNCC. The school currently is allocated $4,200 per FTE student.

Based on the school’s current enrollment, an approved bill would add about $650,000 to CNCC’s budget, college President John Boyd said.

“Our state funding was about $3.2 million,” he said. “Adding $650,000 to that is a substantial increase. : It’d be a huge boon to CNCC.”

The measure has about 40 state Senate and House sponsors and currently is in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill seeks to “address the financial disadvantages” faced by CSU-Pueblo and the state’s rural community colleges by appropriating additional money.

“Rural colleges are typically the lifeblood of their local communities’ economies,” the bill’s declaration reads. It adds, “Local community colleges provide much-needed jobs and serve as a focal point for future economic vitality.

“Continuing to invest in the state’s rural colleges is important to foster future economic prospects in the state’s rural communities as well as generate future local and state tax revenue.”

Boyd described the bill as an answer to statewide funding woes for higher education, and a remedy for rural colleges with limited finances.

“Our cost of doing business out here is more,” Boyd said.

“I think this bill is something that’s been a long time coming,” he added, citing shrinking state allocations in recent years.

Should the college receive additional funds, Boyd said the money would be earmarked for improving student services and hiring additional faculty. He cited history, political science and Spanish as subject areas that could benefit from more teachers.

“We need additional faculty,” he said, “and certainly what we’d be able to do is improve our student services.”

More money in the budget also would help the school continue to develop new programs, Boyd said.

The school has added power plant technology, industrial electrician and massage therapy programs in recent years, and is considering certifications for automotives and heavy equipment operating in the future.

The new programs are tailored to complement the local economy, the college president said, and create a new workforce.

“We need to develop new programs to serve the workforce in our area,” Boyd said.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.


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