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College to see more state funding

Cory Fisher

Despite a slowing in enrollment numbers, Lake Tahoe Community College President Guy Lease said a healthy state economy will more than likely translate into expanded programs, added faculty, improvements in technology and employee pay raises at the college.

In his annual State of the College address, Lease emphasized that the state’s economic recovery in the past three years has been good for community colleges.

“Of course, the governor’s proposed budget is only the beginning,” Lease cautioned. “It could undergo dramatic changes before it is adopted in July, but we are not anticipating much controversy. The state budget has been more generous to K-14 education within the past few years.”

Despite a flattening in enrollment, Lease was quick to remind the audience, comprised primarily of LTCC staff, that the college’s community participation rate is more than double that of the state, making it “difficult to improve upon.”

“Growth is an interesting phenomenon in a small community,” he said. “We’re probably not going to grow much, so we need to look at what size we should be. We don’t want to stretch ourselves thin, but we also want to hang onto growth funds.”

Among the highlights in the college’s 1998-99 Budget Assumptions and Goals are:

— Culinary arts program – A new vocational program in partnership with the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, local restaurants and larger hotels.

— State money for instructional equipment, technology and library materials – LTCC anticipates receiving roughly $80,000 in this category, in addition to $30,000 to improve the video conferencing system, Internet capabilities and provide digital satellite capability. The college will also purchase a new operational software system.

— Language Learning Center – A classroom will be converted to allow for computer-assisted language instruction.

— Lottery – An anticipated $156,640 in lottery funds.

— A cost-of-living adjustment – A 2.2 percent increase in funding for LTCC’s 1,390 “full-time equivalent” students, as well as a 3 percent increase in general apportionment for enrollment growth. The anticipated growth is 33 percent above the funded level in 1996-97.

— New staff positions – Two faculty positions are expected to be filled in the area of Anthropology/Sociology and Science, as well as several new classified positions for 1998-99.

— Welfare reform – A yet-to-be-specified amount of Proposition 98 funds are expected to fund welfare reform/work education programs for local needy families receiving temporary assistance.

— Partnership for Excellence – College to receive $100,000 of new money on the condition that a commitment is made to improve student performance outcomes, including a rise in course completions as well as an increase in transfer-ready and UC or CSU-eligible students.

— Title III Grant- College has applied for $350,000 in grant funding per year for five years to strengthen management and student services, improve academic programs and faculty development and increase fiscal stability.

“There are positive opportunities for us as a small college to take that state money and do something constructive,” Lease said. “Although we can’t control much of the income side, we can work together to achieve goals. With more funding, we can do many things – we have a creative and imaginative staff.”

Lease went on to praise the LTCC Foundation for its aggressive fund-raising efforts and acknowledged the Child Development Center’s success in operating at 104 percent of capacity.

In his closing remarks, Lease praised his staff for their commitment.

“You don’t often get to see the successes you generate – our college is often just the beginning of a long road,” he said. “But you need to know that those successes are occurring and you’re making a vast difference.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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