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Local Focus, Local Control, Local Funding

Spring 2009 | Archives

Metropolitan Community College´s (MCC) dispute with and expulsion from the Nebraska Community College Association (NCCA) has garnered a lot of press recently and brought attention to MCC´s plight but not to MCC´s position on the issues.

It is MCC´s position that the current state aid funding formula undermines local decision making and is unjustified in using factors beyond students served to allocate funding. The current formula was meant as a one-year fix with reviews, adjustments and corrections made after this time period. The NCCA has not been willing to work with MCC on revisions, and the changes scheduled to begin in 2009-10 will make matters worse.

MCC´s service area includes about 40 percent of the state´s population, contributes almost 50 percent of sales/individual income tax revenues to the state and serves nearly 35 percent of Nebraska´s community college fulltime equivalency (FTE) students, yet receives roughly only 27 percent of community college aid.

Another concern is the rapid increase in per student costs at many of the community colleges. Over the last four years, per student cost at MCC is up around six percent, Central Community College 13 percent, Mid-Plains Community College 27 percent, Northeast Community College 37 percent, Southeast Community College 27 percent and Western Community College 34 percent. MCC´s Board of Governors and administration share great concern over the requirement for one community college service area to fund the operating decisions of the other five.

MCC has six objectives for revising the funding formula:

  1. Allocate state aid to community colleges based on students served and not on non-educational factors.
  2. Return property tax control to the locally elected boards of governors thereby giving area constituents more local control of service and funding decisions.
  3. Encourage effective and efficient operations by making each community college more accountable to the area they serve.
  4. Establish a simplified formula that is more easily explained and justified to constituents.
  5. Reduce Nebraska taxpayer support of students that will never reside or work in Nebraska.
  6. Update reimbursable education units (REUs) and clarify FTEs if they are to be used in the formula.

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