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Awake 58: Community colleges wait on state funds as Raleigh remains at a stalemate

Awake 58: Community colleges wait on state funds as Raleigh remains at a stalemate

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Click here to subscribe.

Marking one year of Awake58… the state budget may move forward in a different way… new Nash and Roanoke-Chowan presidents spotlighted… A-B Tech secured additional funding eliminating their deficit…

My colleague Rupen has been on the road over the past week covering Hurricane Dorian. Much of North Carolina escaped severe damage, but Ocracoke was hard hit. Rupen will be down there this week continuing to report. And while we count our blessings post-Dorian, Rupen is also documenting life in eastern NC one year post-Florence. We asked recently about the impact of the current state budget impasse, and Hurricane Florence recovery came up as one significant issue.

Rupen caught up with Carteret Community College president John Hauser, who declared, “It’s very frustrating. We’re in a rural community. We are the engine to help this county through recovery, and that engine’s being slowed right now because of the budget.”

Read the piece for more information on the very real challenges of the stalemate for those colleges impacted by Florence.

Alex Granados also recently visited with a number of presidents to explore what might happen if the budget impasse isn’t solved, and I would encourage you to check the piece out by clicking here. He will keep following the story, and we will let you know more about the process as it evolves. 

Thank you for reading Awake58. It means a lot. I am out next week, but my colleague Molly will be filling in for me. 

Until next time,


EdNC Reads

(Video) A look at our first year covering community colleges

One year ago, we spent a little over a week traveling to all 58 community colleges. We have learned a lot from listening to all of you. We want you to know some of what we’ve learned — and we want you to know what we are planning to cover in the year ahead. Please read the piece and let us know your thoughts!

Budget impasse continues: Community colleges operate on status quo while they wait

“David Shockley, president of Surry Community College, said that without the budget his school is short $200,000, which is a big deal when it comes to funding positions and some of the initiatives that Surry has. ‘Right now that’s $200,000 that we have not been able to budget or utilize,’ he said, adding later: ‘When you multiply that statewide, multiple of my peers across the state are going to be in the same position.’”

How the state budget impasse hurts community colleges hit by Florence

“A reported 13,246 students signed up for fewer classes across 19 community colleges the semester after Florence hit. To offset the resulting funding loss, the legislature allocated $6.4 million in the conference budget. However, disagreement around unrelated budget items has resulted in an impasse lasting 10 weeks and counting. Meanwhile, community colleges across eastern North Carolina are waiting.”

What happened with Hurricane Dorian?

West Craven Principal Tabari Wallace said, “What does worry me and probably any other administrator is getting lulled into a sense of complacency. You know, here we go again — it’s just going to blow through. We don’t ever want to do that, because you never know when we have the next big one like we had last year.”

ICYMI | One year of covering your stories

Molly Osborne and I wrote a piece documenting our last year-plus of reporting, research, data collection, and engagement across our state’s community colleges. We revisited the issues you told us mattered, lifted up our reporting, and told you what is ahead for us. I hope you will spend time with the piece if you didn’t last week.

Other Reads

College dreams often melt away in summer months. ‘Near-peer’ counseling is helping keep them alive.

The summer melt that occurs as students who aspire to attend college run headlong into life is a phenomena that many colleges are striving to combat. This piece spotlights one project that may provide part of the answer: “Studies suggest that when it comes to fighting summer melt, programs that rely on human interaction… may hold the most promise. Results from the CARA College Bridge program show a 12 percent increase in postsecondary enrollment at high schools where coaches have been providing college prep support for two years.”

17 questions every college should be asking 

The author of this piece, a former college president, raises provocative questions regarding the future of postsecondary education: “Higher education is in the middle of multiple, massive disruptions—and it isn’t clear that the leaders of the sector grasp the magnitude of the waves of change breaking on their ivy-covered gates.”

Around North Carolina

Perspective | Our region’s low unemployment rate means incredible challenges and opportunities

Blue Ridge Community College President Laura Leatherwood writes, “A talent survey conducted across the 10-county western North Carolina region by the Asheville Chamber tells us that our employers will add another 12,700 to 26,700 jobs over the next three years. Of all the industries, manufacturing is expected to grow the most in the next three years, adding as many as 7,500 new jobs. Our region is ripe with job growth — adding much-needed strength to our economy. We have opportunities that keep coming, but filling all of these jobs remains a challenge.”

Dan Gerlach takes on his next challenge

Many of you likely met Dan Gerlach during his tenure as the head of Golden LEAF. You may have even followed him @NCLEAFChief on Twitter. Dan is now the interim chancellor at ECU, and he recently participated in an interview with Carolina Business Review.

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.