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Co-Lin able to manage budget cuts

Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s budget cuts for the 2009fiscal year haven’t hit as hard as some worried they might, thanksto conservative budgeting, College President Ronnie Nettles toldtrustees Thursday.

The 5 percent cuts, which totaled just under $700,000 and weredivided between Oct. 2008 and Jan. 2009, will actually be absorbedin some other areas.

“We’re pleased to report we can manage these cuts,” Nettlessaid. “We can weather this storm in a way we’re proud of, becauseour student fees are above our estimate, and we budgetedconservatively for this year.”

Nettles said when the budget was figured, officials anticipatedfor level enrollment, but all three campuses have actually gone upin enrollment for both semesters this year. Meanwhile, theoperations budget has $185,000 that can be classified as capitalimprovements and the insurance was overestimated by about$100,000.

“The bottom line is that out of $690,000 in cuts, we think wecan do this without impacting our students or the instructionalmission of this college,” Nettles said.

In other business, the Workforce Training program reached morethan 18,000 workers last year, college officials said, andcontinues to benefit local businesses and industries withcurriculums designed to enhance employee performance.

Dr. Louis Dugas presented the board with a list of areaemployers who have had various continuing education classes eitherat their facilities or through mobile labs, or on one of the Co-Lincampuses. Dugas said the programs reached 18,847 workers last year,costing only around $547,000.

Trustee Chuck Gilbert of Natchez said the communities affectedby the workforce training education probably don’t realize theimpact the college has had on people who aren’t traditionalstudents.

“I think that was a fine report,” he said. “I’d think in thegeneral public, 95 percent of the people don’t even realize whatworkforce training does for the community. I didn’t even realizewe’d reached more than 18,000 people in a year. That’swonderful.”

Dugas told the group that companies such as Georgia Pacific,Advanced Auto, Southern Pine Electric Power, Delphi, and HardyWilson and King’s Daughters hospitals have taken advantage of thetraining. One successful program especially has been the one forcertified nursing assistants, he said.

“I’m really thankful to Dr. Nettles and (Dean of AcademicInstruction) Dr. (Jean) Hulon for the facilities we have in theStribling Building,” he said. “That really provides a place wherethe students and instructors feel at home.”

Hulon filled the board in on unaudited enrollment numbers,saying that the Wesson campus is up just under 7 percent, Natchezhas gone up about 2 percent, and the Simpson County center is up awhopping 21 percent.

“These numbers are preliminary and give us an idea of where weare,” said Nettles.

Hulon said the numbers could go down slightly, but thatcurrently the college has 3,280 students district-wide, which isabout a 5 percent overall increase.