Community Colleges seek promised funds

A local community college is after the funds they were promised by the state legislature.

Pearl River Community College is seeking $97 million, an amount promised in a 2007 mid-level funding law. This law promised community colleges an amount that was an average of K12 and regional public university funds.

According to Pearl River Community College president William Lewis, funding from the state appropriations for community colleges have not risen as quickly as they had hoped.

"For several years, the legislature made progress with moving us toward that mid-level funding, which would , in essence, solve a lot of problems for us," Lewis said.

According to Lewis, they have made progress but are not close to where they should be in funds.

The mark is missed by over $2,000 per student. With per-student spending for K12 at nearly $5,000 and over $6,000 for regional public universities, state support for community colleges is at $3,075. This is 30 percent lower then what the law states.

"The question becomes, how much better could we be? And how much more could we do for our students if we were given the opportunity to have that mid-level funding," said Lewis.

The requests made by the college presidents on Tuesday will put their colleges at about the halfway mark.

According to Lewis, those extra and promised funds will be used exactly how they were originally intended.