Tinkering with how to calculate state money North Carolina's community colleges receive has left many campuses this fall with fewer instructors, larger classes and reduced services for students seeking skills to build careers.
Gov. Pat McCrory signed the state budget bill that contained a provision changing the base funding formula for the 58 colleges have used since 1999. McCrory recommended such a change in his own budget proposal, and legislative leaders essentially went along with it.
Legislators and the governor say the adjustment more accurately reflects true enrollment figures of schools as statewide community college enrollment ramps down from the height of the Great Recession, when the unemployed flooded classrooms. McCrory ultimately wants to determine community college funding more on the programs each campus has that create good-paying jobs and less on student numbers. Those efforts already have started.