Local News

Wake Tech could opt for four-day summer week

Posted February 11, 2009 10:40 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Wake Tech Community College is considering raising tuition and going to a shorter week to save money.

Earlier this month, Wake Technical returned about $306,000 of its annual support from the county. The move came as commissioners approved about $23.2 million in budget cuts to move spending into line with lower projections for tax revenue.

With further cuts possible, the college is considering a four-day work week to help trim operating costs.

"We hope to save $100,000 this summer in utilities, security and housekeeping costs,” said Dr. Steve Scott, president of Wake Tech Community College.

In addition to budget cuts on the county level, state lawmakers are trying to erase a $2 billion budget deficit. Education and Medicaid account for about 70 percent of the state's general fund budget, and analysts with the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly said filling the $2 billion hole in the current budget will eventually require digging into those accounts.

The recession-hit economy has sent enrollment at the community college soaring. The student population has grown by 14 percent this year. That is nearly three additional people per class.

"I am in school for graphic design. It's a two-year associate degree,” student Candace McKoy said. "You just have to get the degree and hope that there is an opportunity waiting. Even with the economy being down as it is."

But despite how much the school's enrollment increases, a tighter budget could lead to higher costs for students, Scott said.

“We think that there's going to be a tuition increase. There are two things you can due, increase revenues and decrease costs,” Scott said.

Some students say they have already noticed minor cuts, such as teachers not printing certain assignments.

"We had print out our syllabus at our own expense," student Janie Covington said.

Wake Tech said cutting back to a 4-day week will not affect the number of classes they offer this summer. The school plans to return to a normal, 5-day week in the fall.