Gila Community College will soon receive its share of $9 million distributed to community colleges statewide.
Amounts allocated fluctuated wildly. GCC is set to receive $175,000, while Pima Community College in Tucson will collect $4.5 million. Maricopa Community Colleges are set to receive $15 million.
“These funds will allow the state’s community colleges to limit tuition increases, prevent personnel reductions and create jobs,” said Governor Jan Brewer in a news release.
GCC Senior Dean Stephen Cullen did not respond to calls for comment before press time.
To solve an estimated $2-million deficit, GCC increased tuition by 30 percent, furloughed administrative staff four days each month, and laid off several employees. College officials estimate the remaining deficit at $500,000, although the precise magnitude remains unknown.
GCC is a provisional college and Eastern Arizona College, which runs the school, also tracks GCC’s finances. EAC will receive almost $875,000 in the first phase of stimulus funding.
GCC receives less than half of the per-student funding as other community colleges. Because the county’s population and property valuations fall beneath legislatively set thresholds, it is prohibited from operating its own college.
The funding formula sabotages the college in cases like this, since the state allocated a portion of stimulus funding based on its level of state operating aid. Part of the funds were distributed to restore cuts to capital funds, according to a press release.
Cullen has previously pointed to the injustice of equally punitive cuts despite unequal funding.
Most of the stimulus money will be used for teacher salaries and benefits, the release stated.
Another phase of funding will become available in November.