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Council restores community colleges cuts

City Council has restored $4 million of the Mayor’s “devastating” proposed cuts to the City University of New York’s (CUNY) community colleges on January 6, according to Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Higher Education Committee.
“The original cuts would have been devastating to the ability of CUNY’s Community Colleges to continue to serve their record-high number of students – a number which is only expected to continue to grow in the future,” said Rodriguez.
The high number of students enrolled in the community colleges and CUNY faculty, staff and students who petitioned to “keep CUNY’s needs in the public eye” were the main reasons why the money was restored, according to Congress.
Over the last 10 years, enrollment has increased by 43 percent at CUNY’s Community Colleges while funding from the city and the state has been steadily decreasing.
“It’s only fair that the money gets put back,” said Kenny Newman, a junior at Queensborough Community College. “They raised tuition and then decided to take back services that are essential because population has increased. I am glad they came to their senses.”
The restoration will go to the most problematic areas, including instructional and departmental research, student services and maintaining library hours. Of the originally proposed $4.2 million to be cut to instructional services, course sections, and departmental research, three million will be restored. Nearly all of the $547,491 to be cut to library hours will be restored, and $500,000 of the original $1.6 million cut to student services will be restored.
Queensborough Community College Interim President Diane Bova Call said she appreciated City Council’s decision because students at her school invest in the city and may need financial help. Approximately 15,000 students are currently enrolled at the school for the upcoming spring semester, according to Call.
“We are seeing classrooms become overcrowded, and we saw the prospect of course sections for critical classes being cut, class size increasing, and hundreds of instructional positions being eliminated. Fortunately, we were able to avert the worst of those outcomes with this restoration,” said Rodriguez.
The Council also restored cuts to the city’s firehouses, case management services for seniors, and child welfare specialists at the Administration for Children’s Services, among others.

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