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Politics

Community College Officials, Students, Speak out Against Proposed Cuts

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Community College System's interim president, Derek Langhausertop, told Maine lawmakers that flat funding of the system, as proposed in Gov. Paul LePage's two-year state budget, would mean $10 million in cuts, tuition increases or a combination of the two.

Several students and faculty said either of the outcomes would hurt Mainers and Maine businesses. Jason Glynn started as a community college student and is now pursuing another degree.

"Without their continued support, I never would have been so successful. I would never be here," Glynn told lawmakers. "They are the great bargain of higher education, and its value to society is immeasurable."

Lowell Gardner, a faculty member at Eastern Maine Community College, said his diesel truck and heavy equipment program has far more demand for graduates than it can provide. He says flat funding will make a bad situation worse.

"Our lack of space, staffing and equipment puts our students, their employers and our state at a disadvantage," Gardner said. "We ask these committees to give the same level of increases to the community college budget as being offered the University of Maine System so we can meet the needs of Maine workers and employers."