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Proposed changes in Albany could mean big funding cut for GCC, so president seeks another $500K from county

Legislators in Albany are apparently intent on changing the formula for how counties pay for their students to attend out-of-county community colleges and that has GCC President Jim Sunser a bit nervous.

To help hedge against the proposed change, he's asked county legislators to boost the county share of GCC funding from just over $2 million to slightly more than $2.5 million.

The proposal caught members of the Ways and Means Committee a little by surprise Wednesday and they asked for more time to study the request and have County Manager Jay Gsell report on any potential county budget impacts.

The committee will consider the proposal again at its June 4 meeting.

"Since we have until the end of June, rather than make a quick decision today, I think we need to see how this fits and how we can make it fit," said Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the County Legislature.

In New York, each community college has a sponsoring county and each sponsoring county supports the college by paying a "county share" for local students to attend.

Sunser said that while Genesee County is very support of GCC, the local county share is also among the lowest in the state.

When students from one county elect to attend a community college in another county, the home county pays that other community college a fee based on a state-mandated calculation.

For example, when a student in Perry decides to attend GCC, Wyoming County must pay a fee to GCC. When a Genesee County student decides to attention ECC, Genesee County must pay a fee to ECC.

The calculation of those out-of-county fees is based on how much per student the sponsor county gives to its own college.

In years past, that per-student fee could be calculated using revenue sources other than the county government's direct contribution. It could, for example, include revenue from facility rentals and revenue allocated from reserves.

Community colleges have been warned, Sunser said, to brace for a change in the formula. The new formula would eliminate all revenue sources from the calculation except the direct county contribution.

The proposal almost made it into the current state budget, but was set aside at the last minute for at least one more year.

If it had passed this year, GCC would have lost $1.7 million in revenue.

The proposed increase of $500,000 in county share would change the calculation so that neighboring counties would continue to pay what they have been paying.

Sunser said GCC serves a larger, more sparsely populated area than any other community college in the state. With campuses in Medina, Albion and Lima, there are college students throughout the GLOW region who are dependent on GCC for their education.

GCC's proposed $38.7 million for fiscal year 2014/15 includes a $75 per semester tuition increase for full-time students and a $5 per credit hour increase for part-time students.

The tuition at GCC would still be the most competive in WNY.

"We're a very frugal institution," Sunser said. "We have one of the lower budgets in New York."

Brian Graz
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Since GCC has secondary campuses in Orleans, Wyoming and Livingston counties why aren't these being included in the request for this additional funding?

Why should the county pay for a resident to go to an out-of-county CC? Those students who elect to do so should pay their own way. More state mandate madness...

Mark Potwora
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Raise the tuition to make up any and all short falls...The tax payer should not be forced to pay for any of this..The county has roads and bridges falling apart,a nursing home thats losing money and now GCC wants to suck another 500,000 dollars out of the tax payer..I say no way.....Question,Is this funding cut how Cuomo is funding his{ you don't have to pay taxes for ten years if you start a business on college land}. program..Hawley and RANZENHOFER go around telling us all the great things they get in the way of funding for this county and at the same time they allow this cut to happen.....It is those two that should be held accountable..Maybe they need to send us out another flyer telling us what a great job they are doing for us....Let us not forget how legalized gambling was going to fund education in New York state....

Brian Graz
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They just haven't built enough casinos yet...

david spaulding
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....No, No and No

Jason Post
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I think you misread the story Mark. The NYS College-funding Budget change didn't happen. For now, GCC still gets it's normal funding. They're just trying to brace for impact if the State decides to cut down on it's share next year.

So, let's not blame our politicians for failing us until they ACTUALLY appear to be failing. Seem reasonable?

Mark Potwora
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Jason i think you might have it wrong..........this is from another story on GCC budget.....

• Asks Genesee County to consider an increase in sponsorship support of $500,000, to $2.53 million. Sunser noted that there is increased interest throughout the SUNY system in creating "regional" community colleges instead of locally sponsored colleges, and that increasing sponsor support may help preserve local sponsorship as well as save Genesee County money over the long term.

They want half a million more from the local taxpayers..So to me Hawley and Ranzenhofer should be asked why do they vote for funding of things like the safe act at the same time allowing the State to cut funding to GCC...GCC also stated the funding by the state is 7% less then is was 5 years ago..The only thing i can say about GCC budget of 39 million is at least it is 4 million less than the Batavia school district budget of 43 million.......In the end it will be the local property tax payer who will foot the bill...At the same time GCC did nothing to cut its budget......

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