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Maine Technical College System

News Release

Increases of 3.5% in FY04 and 3.5% in FY05 would fund current services and continue tuition freeze two more years

September 25, 2002
CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Board of Trustees of the Maine Technical College System (MTCS) approved a budget request to submit to the King Administration for the upcoming two-year budget cycle at a meeting today at Northern Maine Technical College in Presque Isle.

The Board endorsed the recommendation of MTCS President John Fitzsimmons to submit a Part I (current services) request of 3.5 percent in fiscal year 2004 and 3.5 percent in fiscal year 2005, for a seven percent increase of $3,068,454 over the current fiscal year budget of $43,081,129. In addition, the System will seek just under $500,000 annually in the States Part II (new and expanded services) budget to cover assistive technologies, interpreters and other services required under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"This request strikes a balance between our real financial needs—with rising health care costs, utilities, and other operational costs—and our respect for the tremendous budget challenges facing the State and Maine taxpayers," said Jana Lapoint, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

In proposing the budget request, MTCS President John Fitzsimmons said, "Thanks to record high enrollment this fall, and internal efficiency moves, this request should allow us to maintain our current level of services through the biennium and continue our tuition freeze for two more years." He added, "If funded, we will have had six straight years without a tuition increase — a big step forward for improving access to college for Maine people," he said.

The System is planning to advance its proposal to convert the technical colleges into community colleges as a separate legislative initiative when the new governor and Legislature convene in January.

"This request is just the first step in a lengthy process," said Fitzsimmons. "As the State's budget condition becomes clearer, we look forward to working with policy leaders to help craft a higher education agenda that will strengthen our economy and improve Maine people's income levels and opportunities in our state."

Also at the meeting, the Board authorized Eastern Maine Technical College in Bangor to offer a new associate degree in paraeducation. The program is designed to help the state's teacher aides meet new federal certification requirements. The Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires all teachers aides to hold an associate degree or pass a competency exam by 2006.

The Board also gave approval to Southern Maine Technical College in South Portland to offer a new program for pharmaceutical technicians. The program will be the first associate degree in the field offered in Maine, and was developed in partnership with Maine pharmacies.