It is that time of year, graduation for JCC and other area colleges. The graduation signals the near close of the fiscal year in a couple months and the start of another year beginning in September.
JCC is a valuable asset of this community, providing an opportunity to continue learning and strengthening the quality of the workforce in the area. The college has been the successful starting place for many aspiring to attain a quality education and brilliant career.
The community has a great deal of interest in the college's success, they have been supportive of their efforts and they become deeply concerned when it encounters difficult times as it has experienced in the past couple of years.
So where will the college be when this fiscal year closes and what opportunities will it present to enhance the upcoming year? Since the college is funded by local property taxes and student tuition, this is a legitimate question.
The college, during recent years of stagnant or declining enrollment, has increased its revenue by requesting an increase in funding from Jefferson County annually and periodically raising student tuition. The college received a half million dollar increase in funding last year, and despite the increase it was portrayed by some as a cut because the initial request was for a million dollar increase. The outrage of some was better than their math, it was an increase in funding. The main basis from the college's standpoint for an increase in funding from the county is meeting a state mandated formula, which the county has been able to achieve.
The college and the county working to find an acceptable level of funding should focus on added value that will attract and increase student population and enhance their learning. Absent added value, and amid stagnant or declining student enrollment then a simple cost of living adjustment should be sufficient. But, this community cherishes the college and does not want status quo, it desires to see it excel and will not mind funding the college to see that happen. JCC is a jewel and the community enjoys polishing it at every opportunity presented.
The college and county should refrain from making this a discussion solely on some formula, rather they should boast the accomplishments and share a vision for excellence in serving students, that will be reason enough to invest in our future.