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“There is always going to be a reaction to substantial change,” says newly installed CSCU regional president Thomas Coley, whose oversight includes Bridgeport's Housatonic and Norwalk Community College, “which is what you’re witnessing now. It takes time and conversation.”
According to revised estimates from the state comptroller’s office, the cost of fringe benefits will be less than expected, though the precise impact on such community colleges as Norwalk and Housatonic is uncertain.
The system’s community colleges include Norwalk Community College and Bridgeport’s Housatonic Community College.
Meanwhile, faculty at five community colleges and two state universities have delivered votes of no confidence in a plan to consolidate the state's 12 community colleges into one system.
Multimillion-dollar construction projects, enrollment numbers, a new branding initiative and, according to WCSU President John Clark, the overall atmosphere are all positive signs at the 116-year-old university.
Average tuition and fees at CSCU universities -- including WestConn in Danbury -- will increase by $479 or 4.4 percent for an in-state undergraduate commuter student and by $860 or 3.6 percent for in-state residential students.
The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system has been wrestling with ways to make up what it says could be a $57 million shortfall.
A final vote on the proposed 5 percent increase at Danbury's Western Connecticut State and three other universities will take place on March 28.
“With all due respect to the new governor and state legislature, this kind of a structural shift has implications that will extend far beyond the best intentions of present leadership," says Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal.
"There are many new members in the General Assembly this year, so we have to educate them about our system and what we do," says Ojakian of the organization that's weighing a variety of tuition scenarios for the 2019-20 school year.
Still looming: the effect of the Small Business Administration's closure. “We’ve got loans that have been approved or are in the process of being approved that are waiting for the SBA,” says Patriot Bank President Richard Muskus Jr. “The SBA had better be ready for a tidal wave of backlog.”
The Westport resident will remain with the State Colleges and Universities system as Presidential Fellow from July 1 to June 30, 2020.
The study is part of CSCU’s ongoing effort to prove to state lawmakers – and Gov.-elect Ned Lamont – the need for economic support.
Before joining the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, Barnes was the operating officer for the Bridgeport Public Schools.
Among the schools in the CSCU system are Norwalk Community College, Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.