Community Colleges Seek $100 Million More

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s 15 community and junior colleges are seeking an additional $101.7 million in the 2014 budget year, again arguing that they’ve been particularly ill-treated in recent state budgets.

 Eric Clark, executive director of the Community College Board, told lawmakers Thursday that money would go to expand worker training, buy new equipment to train students in subjects including welding and nursing and raise salaries for employees.

 In 2007, the Legislature legally bound itself to fund community colleges at a level halfway in between what K-12 schools and less expensive public universities get per student. Based on the 2011 budget, that amount would be $5,182 per student. But because community college enrollments ballooned while budgets were pressured by the recession, they got barely half that amount per student in 2011 – $2,686.

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