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The State Board of Community Colleges adopted a resolution supporting the myFutureNC goal that 2 million North Carolinians ages 25 to 44 should have a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by 2030. During its monthly meeting, the board heard from the strategic planning committee on a resolution drafted to support the goal, which was laid down by the myFutureNC Commission earlier this year.

The myFutureNC Commission is a group of 45 leaders from education, business, philanthropy, faith-based, and nonprofit organizations.

“North Carolina is one of the few states that has not set a statewide education attainment goal,” said North Carolina Community Colleges President Peter Hans, who is a co-chair of the myFutureNC commission. “These 2 million more high-value credentials by the year 2030 would move the number of North Carolinians with those type of credentials — that are able to compete in the workforce of the marketplace — from roughly 47% of the population to roughly 67% of the population.”

The resolution noted that, “to make progress towards that goal, the North Carolina higher education community must improve student outcomes, reduce the time to graduation, and create opportunities that meet the needs of today’s students.”

Referencing the final report, Jerry Vaughan, board member and chair of the strategic planning committee, noted the importance of community colleges to the ultimate success of myFutureNC’s attainment goal.

“You can see the number of credentials earned at our community colleges, which represents a huge share of the credentials awarded in the state,” Vaughan said. “So going forward, we’re obviously already a critical player in that business, and will continue to be in the future.”

System president discretionary allocations

The board also voted to begin amending its rules to allow Hans, and future system presidents, to approve certain allocations of funds, contracts and capital projects. The proposed rule changes are aimed at reducing the number of routine items that need State Board approval, which would free the board to focus on more strategic issues. The amendment would cap the system president’s discretionary allocations at $250,000.

During discussions, board member Breeden Blackwell asked if the system might be better served by a $500,000 cap. Referencing the controversial Interstate 77 toll-lane project headed by then-Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson, board member Frank Johnson advised caution.

“It was a big decision made by the secretary and it screwed up the lives of thousands and thousands of people and probably led to the election of Governor Roy Cooper,” he said. “And things like that can happen. Not that I don’t think that Peter Hans [can] make these decisions with great wisdom and so on, but maybe the next guy won’t be so wise.”

The proposed changes will be open for public comment for 30 days beginning May 21.

New acting president at Martin Community College

The board also approved the appointment of Brian Busch as acting president of Martin Community College. Busch was the college’s executive vice president. The move comes after a flurry of activity at Martin last week, including the suspension of the dean of administrative services and capital project coordinator Steve Taylor on Tuesday and the placement of president Paul Hutchins on administrative leave on Thursday. It is unknown why the college took either action or if they are related.

Rupen Fofaria

Rupen Fofaria is the equity and learning differences reporter at EducationNC who is passionate about shining light on under-reported issues.