State Budget Cuts Affect MDC
By Michael Finch
Students registered early this summer to get classes they needed for the fall semester after budget cuts affected the number of classes Miami Dade College offered.
The economic burden has descended onto Miami Dade College. This summer MDC announced that it was being forced to lay off or eliminate 197 jobs, drop several programs and would be unable to add new class sections this coming fall.
“Our institutional research estimates, nearly 30,000 students may not be able to take the classes they need and more than 5,000 will not be able to register for any classes at all,” said Miami Dade College North Campus President José Vicente.
Since 2007, MDC has lost $21.6 million dollars in state funding and an additional $ 27 million dollars in matching funds. Now the college faces an additional $39 million dollar shortfall needed to cover the cost for instruction, college officials said.
“This is a difficult time for all of us at MDC,” said Dr. Eduardo Padrón, the college’s president in a letter to the MDC community. “We have been forced to the last resort of losing people who are valuable members of our community and drawing our belts tighter.”
Programs eliminated include radiation therapy technology, midwifery, and the open college, an independent study program. While construction technology, air conditioning and refrigeration, oceanographic engineering, surveying hospitality and special certification programs in network support services and business computer programming may be next.
Other areas will undergo consolidation, such as the School of Justice and Fire Science, the School of Funeral Sciences and biology, and continuing work force education and basic law enforcement will also merge with the School of Justice.
Academic advisement and the career services department will unite college-wide.
“I feel frustrated with the situation for other students,” said North Campus student government association president, Juliette Llado. “MDC has always lived by an open door policy, [and] the open door policy is in jeopardy.”
Last year MDC sought financial help through the proposal of a state-wide half cent tax to support community colleges. Voters in Miami-Dade County supported Amendment 8 but it was the only county in Florida that voted in favor of the measure.
The college then proposed a local option bill targeted toward support for the college in Miami-Dade County. According to an article in The Miami Herald the bill was never addressed on the legislative floor.
“The college will pursue the local option bill again during the next legislative session next year,” Vicente said.
The college may find relief if the proposed community college initiative is passed through congress, which President Barack Obama recently proposed.
“It is still premature to predict at this time if most of our financial troubles will cease as a result of this financial support,” Vicente said. “[It] will provide the college with some level of stability for next year, unless the economy presents us with new and more challenging times to overcome.”
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