Paris Junior College state funding expected to remain close to same
After enrollment in Texas community colleges peaked at 732,681 in 2011, that number has dropped to 694,881 as of fall 2014. That decline means fewer total hours spent in classrooms, which is the criterion used by the state to fund community colleges. Paris Junior College has made significant budget cuts since the 2011 legislature made enormous cuts to community college budgets. Paris Junior College president Dr. Pamela Anglin says that PJC's funding should remain close to that which was allocated by the 2013 legislature.
Mark Haslett: Over the past 10 years, community college funding in Texas has done a complete 180. Used to be, the State of Texas provided 60 percent of an average community college’s budget, with tuition and fees making up about 30 percent. But now-
Dr. Pamela Anglin: 60 percent of our budget comes from tuition and fees, 30 percent from state appropriations and 10 percent from local tax revenue.
Haslett: That’s Dr. Pamela Anglin, president of Paris Community College. Those numbers are typical of community colleges throughout the state. And every two years, when the Texas Legislature goes into session, community colleges have their fiscal fate for the next two years decided. Based on results this spring in Austin, Anglin says that PJC’s funding will remain at about the same level in the immediate future.
Anglin: So it looks like our funding will stay flat, while others are losing. And that’s because our enrollment did not decline as much as the state average decline.
Haslett: Community college enrollment statewide decreased by about 4 percent last year. Anglin says that community colleges are in a tough spot when it comes to state funding, because of the model that ties money to enrollment. Community college enrollment tends to track in the opposite direction of economic growth indicators.
Anglin: When the economy’s bad our enrollment’s up, and that’s at a point when the state has the least money to distribute, so we don’t see a big growth in funding then. And then when the economy is booming and the state has more money, our enrollment is down because people have gone back to work.
Haslett: Anglin also says that the staffing pattern at Paris Junior College reflects the current era of budget austerity.
Anglin: We are extremely lean. We have people that are doing two or three people’s jobs, now. As people have resigned or retired, we look at how we can distribute that work instead of re-filling their position. The only times we re-fill a position as a full-time position is when we have no other way of getting that work done.
Haslett: Anglin also says that 78 percent of students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Texas have some community college on their transcript.