July 1, 2009
Community Colleges file suit to fix vocational education funding inequities
Cowley County Community College, Dodge City Community College,
and Pratt Community College have filed suit against the Kansas Board
of Regents for failing to fairly fund the colleges’ vocational
Other community colleges with vocational education programs receive as much as three times more funding per full-time equivalent enrollment as Cowley, Dodge, and Pratt do for the same classes.
The colleges estimate they have lost millions of dollars over the years as a result of the disparate funding.
“The lack of fair funding puts an undue burden on the taxpayers of our county,” said William Wojciechowski President of Pratt Community College.
The colleges had attempted to resolve the problem with the Board before filing suit.
“Unfortunately, our repeated efforts to convince the Board that the law requires fair and equal funding for our vocational education programs were unsuccessful. It was time to seek relief in the court system,” said Richard Burke, President of Dodge City Community College.
In the lawsuit, the community colleges ask the court to order the Board of Regents to exercise its duties under existing law and under the Kansas Constitution to fairly fund their vocational education programs.
While they also seek reimbursement for the money they should have received in the past, the colleges are focused on the upcoming fiscal year.
“In these difficult times, it is extremely important for us to provide our communities with the best possible vocational and technical education, and correcting this funding disparity for the coming year and into the future will go a long way toward that goal,” said Patrick J. McAtee, President of Cowley County Community College.