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WCC budget woes are self-inflicted

All things considered, the FY2021 WCC budget paints a decent revenue picture. While many community colleges around the nation struggle with massive cuts to state aid and declining enrollments, WCC is keeping its head above water.

Washtenaw County’s property tax collection in FY2021 is expected to come in at about $59M.The new State of Michigan budget contains no cuts to WCC’s State appropriation from last year. Fall tuition revenues are short by about $1.05M. While Winter classes will remain online for the most part, WCC will also begin to reap the benefits of the Futures for Frontliners program. In addition, the State budget includes $30M in funding for Michigan Reconnect, which provides financial aid to adults who return to a community college.

The WCC budget includes something that many other community college budgets don’t: substantial local tax support. Some community colleges, including many in Michigan, depend upon the State appropriation as a primary source of revenue. Other community colleges receive their funding through their local county budget. As a result, student tuition at these schools is higher, which often puts a college degree out of reach for the poorest community residents.

Without a doubt, local support makes a major difference for WCC students. Local support enables WCC to offer one of the lowest in-district tuition rates and one of the lowest fee structures in the State of Michigan. There’s no real reason WCC should be trying to stave off a structural deficit, except that the WCC Administration makes poor spending decisions, and the WCC Board of Trustees approves them without question. Much of WCC’s current and looming financial problems are self-inflicted.

WCC Trustees owe the taxpayers a duty of loyalty

It would behoove the WCC Trustees to start taking better care of the enormous gift of local taxpayer support. Ways in which they could accomplish this include:

Washtenaw County voters should not tolerate WCC Trustees’ disregard

Washtenaw County taxpayers get very little respect from the WCC Board of Trustees. It’s time to start replacing Board members who believe that the taxpayers are here just to pay the bills.

WCCWatch: Martin Thomas | WCCWatch: David DeVarti | WCCWatch: Christina Fleming | WCCWatch: Ruth Hatcher

Photo Credit: Damian Gadal, via Flickr