Kilgore college tightens economic belt

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV)- An East Texas college is now under the financial microscope, forcing some tough choices in a tough economy.

Kilgore College has already had to cancel what would have been state funded trips for the students, but that's just the beginning.

"We will have lost about 1.7 million dollars of current budget in just a matter of months," say Kilgore College President Dr. Bill Holda.

This week the KC Chorale's trip to New York City was cancelled.

"I was shocked. It was a big heartbreak, too. We've been to different places before in the past and just out of the blue, they decide to take money from us," says music major Traci Romero.

"And that's just the first of a long string of events and items that are going to be canceled," Holda says.

$10,000 cut from music and dance. Scholarships, arts, even books could be affected.

"I'm going to propose that the band and Rangerettes just perform at home games this next year, don't travel at all to any away games," says Holda, adding "This is just the first of several dominoes that's going to be falling over the next 2 or 3 years."

Custodial jobs have been outsourced, and some classes will be consolidated to streamline student-teacher ratios.

"Some of those things may have to be jettisoned or go by the wayside as we focus on our mission as an educational institution. There will be fee and tuition increases no doubt," says school vice president Michael Jenkins.

Peripheral events will be sacrificed, for the bottom line. Education.

"The sad part is, the community colleges in particular hold a lot of the key to the economic recovery," Holda says.

But right now, administrators say there's no easy answer.

The cuts are in response to several cuts in higher education made to help reduce the Texas state budget. Students scheduled to make the New York trip will be reimbursed for whatever money they have already paid.

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