NCCC threatened by Governor’s proposed budget

State and local representatives all across the board are still reeling from the potential ramifications of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed budget.

Malloy proposes to cut state aid to many towns and cities, along with reducing Education Cost Sharing funds and making municipalities pay for a portion of teacher pension costs.

On March 3 at a legislative breakfast held at Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC), college President Michael Rooke said that if Malloy’s proposed budget is approved as is, there will be a 4.4 percent state fund reduction to the college.

Rooke said that the cut equates to $283,000, which he said is the equivalent of two to three positions.

He added that if negotiations with state unions do not come through as planned, then it is possible that the state could cut 10 percent in funds, which is the equivalent of four to five full-time positions, possibly more.

Ever since it was founded, NCCC has been one of the main anchors in the town of Winsted, both socially and economically.

Over the past few years, the college has expanded its programs and offerings, and soon the college will have a new building for its Allied Health programs.

Before that, on March 15, the college will open its Entrepreneurial Center.

The college, along with the programs that it offers, are a vital component of both Winsted and the Northwest Corner.

Chipping away at NCCC’s budget, along with the budgets of other community colleges in the state, will hurt surrounding communities and will be harmful to the future of Connecticut: its college students.

It was already harmful to the Northwest Corner when, last year, the state shut down the University of Connecticut campus in Torrington.

With fewer academic offerings to students to the Northwest Corner, how can anyone expect young people to stay in the area to get a job or start a family?

Chances are that, with fewer academic resources, they will move out of the area. And who could blame them?

While colleges have had to find ways of doing “more with less,” which is a term Rooke repeated several times in his speech on March 3, there is a limit to this.

Losing funding equates to losing positions, and losing positions means the loss of resources and programs for NCCC.

Gov. Malloy, along with state legislators, should all think twice before reducing funding to education, whether it would be for state colleges or local school districts.

Malloy and the legislators all need to keep in mind that it’s more than just budget numbers that they are looking at cutting.

Behind those budget numbers are students and their education.

After looking at Malloy’s budget proposal up and down, one has to seriously wonder whether or not he has the best interests in mind for the children and students of the state.