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franklin county times

Hitt: County spends
too much on EMCC

By Staff
FINANCIAL SUPPORT Deanna Wilson, left, Lindy White and Kathy Brookshire of Meridian Community College answer questions from student Nathan Cross Saturday during "Mall Day 04" at Bonita Lakes Mall. Lauderdale supervisors are discussing their financial support of MCC as well as East Mississippi Community College in Scooba. Photo by Kyle Carter / The Meridian Star.
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
August 9, 2004
Lauderdale County Supervisor Craig Hitt believes it is unfair that East Mississippi Community College receives more money per Lauderdale County student than Meridian Community College does.
Hitt said he is concerned about the funding issue because Lauderdale County is struggling to help support two community colleges EMCC and MCC. Hitt, the District 3 supervisor, attended EMCC.
Financial support for the community colleges is expected to be one of several issues supervisors will discuss when they begin work on Lauderdale County's budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
EMCC, which has its main campus in Scooba, serves residents in and receives financial support from six counties in East Mississippi: Clay, Kemper, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Noxubee and Oktibbeha.
MCC, which has its campus in Meridian, serves residents in and receives financial support from Meridian and Lauderdale County.
Funding comparison
For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2003, Lauderdale County gave $194,904 to EMCC. With 166 students from the county attending EMCC in fall 2002, the contribution equaled $1,174 for each person.
At the same time, Lauderdale County gave $440,918 to MCC for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2003. With 2,087 students from the county attending MCC in fall 2002, the contribution equaled $211 for each person.
The figures were the latest available, audited statistics from the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges in Jackson.
EMCC President Rick Young said 11⁄2 weeks ago that he wanted to ask Lauderdale County for more financial support. He said then that EMCC receives the least amount of county support compared to other community and junior colleges.
Last week, however, Young said he no longer plans to ask Lauderdale County supervisors for more money. He said he plans to invite them to tour EMCC campuses so they can see how county tax money is being spent.
MCC's mission
MCC President Scott Elliott said his college has moved beyond being just a city community college and has become an institution that prepares students for senior college and the area workforce.
Therefore, he said, he is concerned about the county's ability to support more than one school.
Elliott pointed out that MCC is the only community college in Mississippi that has just one county Lauderdale County for purposes of tax support and student recruitment.
In contrast, Lauderdale County is one of six counties statewide that support two of the state's 15 community and junior colleges. Sate law, however, does not require the counties to financially support both colleges.
Nevertheless, Hitt said he would like to see a change in the way the county funds the schools.
Emotional issue
Elliott said he regrets that the issue of community college funding has become emotional for some people. Elliott said he has nothing against EMCC; in fact, he said, his son played football at EMCC.
Lauderdale County Supervisor Ray Boswell said he hasn't thought much about the issue of community college funding. But, he said, he would like Lauderdale County to continue funding EMCC.
Hitt said he believes many Lauderdale County residents aren't aware that the county sends more money per county student to EMCC than to MCC

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