Counties bolster ICC's financial support

By Jeremy Hudson

Daily Journal

FULTON - Boards of supervisors from Itawamba, Lee, Chickasaw and Monroe counties have voted to increase funding for support and development at Itawamba Community College's Fulton and Tupelo campuses.

ICC President David Cole told board members of his appreciation for the increase Monday night at their regular monthly meeting. With the bolstering of financial support, Cole said ICC will see an increase of more than $800,000 in funding.

"Every county that could increase their backing for our school did so," Cole said. "This is a great public service for the children of our area."

Pontotoc was the only one of the five counties supporting ICC that did not increase its funding, Cole said, simply because the county was already providing the maximum amount of support.

"They've been there for a long time and we appreciate them very much," Cole said.

Each county may contribute up to 6 mills of its total assessed valuation before a cap is imposed. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 in a county's assessed valuation.

Cole said with the current economic situation, colleges throughout the state are looking for support from a number of areas.

"We're all experiencing increased enrollment," Cole said. "With the economic downturn that we've seen, we are also seeing a decrease in state revenue. So, we've relied on small tuition increases and support from the counties to help us meet the needs and stay away from cutting programs."

Elizabeth Davis, director of institutional advancement at ICC, hopes the support from the counties will carry over into giving from other avenues as well, she told the board. Davis directs the school's annual fund-raising drive and said she has seen a positive response from area industry.

She told the board a group of local Wal-Mart stores plans to pool money to create a $10,000 scholarship fund.

"Efforts such as these are true investments in the future of our area," Davis said.

The drive brought in more than $250,000 last year, she said, adding this year's goal has been raised to $500,000.

In other action, Larry Senter, vice president of business services at ICC, told the board increased enrollment has brought in more tuition dollars than had been expected, leaving the school in a good financial state through its first quarter of operation.

"We are still under budget," Senter said. "We feel very good about where we are right now."

Senter said it is not unusual to be in good financial standing early in the fiscal year, adding the true test will come in the third and fourth quarters.

The board of trustees also announced it will have its November meeting on ICC's Tupelo campus.

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