Randolph County is one of the most Republican leaning counties in North Carolina. It should come as no surprise that our entire delegation to the General Assembly is Tea Party red through and through. They aren't just Republicans, these are partisan, hardcore Republicans.
You might recall that in this year's budget community colleges took a substantial cut in funding.
The President of Randolph Community College says he’s changing his tune when it comes to asking state legislators for money.
Dr. Bob Shackleford believes it’s time for leaders to recognize community colleges as an investment the state needs to fund instead of just another group asking for money.
“Every year we’re told there’s more budget cuts, more budget cuts. We’ve always been able to kind of suck it up and keep on,” explained Dr. Shackleford. “But we’re now past the point of just being able to tighten the belt. It’s at the point now that it’s going to impact jobs, programs, students.”
RCC will be cutting courses, eliminating at least one program and phasing out some full-time positions in order to meet nearly a million dollar budget reduction this year.
I can't speak to Dr. Shackleford's personal politics, but I have heard him speak a few times and found him to be sincere in his commitment to education at all levels. The cuts to RCC's budget will have a negative impact on the school, it's students, and our county for years to come.
Even popular programs, like nursing, are having difficulty filling two faculty positions.
“The State Board of Nursing said, well, until you get those positions filled, we do not want you taking any more students into your evening and weekend nursing program for the next year and a half,” said Dr. Shackleford.
That means many nursing students who want to work during the day won’t be able to take night and weekend classes.
“It’s a problem to recruit and retain qualified faculty and staff when your hands are tied behind you in terms of the budget,” he added. “We are not part of the problem, draining the state’s budget. We are part of the solution that needs funding to fix the problem and train North Carolina’s future workforce.”
It looks to me like, as Malcolm X once famously said, the chickens are beginning to come home to roost.