The debate over the Community College continues locally, even though right now, the plan and application is in the state’s hands.
Comments put on the record at the Erie County Council Meeting just minutes before the vote are raising red flags for one council member. Erie County Councilman, Ed Dimattio, says at the meeting there were changes made just minutes before the four to two vote to support the community college and send the plan to Harrisburg.
The changes brought to light by the accountants from the county and Empower Erie. But, Dimattio says they were not brought to council’s attention before that meeting. “It seems that these conversations with the PDE started close to a month ago if not longer. Maybe not in email form, but in telephone calls letting them know these changes need to be made.”
Chairman Jay Breneman says those were just clarifications, “They ask for clarification and we give that clarification. That conversation is going to have to keep happening. I anticipate us to have to provide more clarification in the coming weeks and months.”
Those comments include increasing tuition slightly, questions involving projections of enrollment and funding that includes the state budget and gaming money, both still in question.
Dimattio comments, “Why don’t we wait until the September meeting when honestly I would hope the state budget is done at that point as well as the gaming funds are taken care of that point? So now you know exactly where you stand with dollars and cents. But for some reason things want to be rushed through for the July meeting.”
Breneman said it doesn’t change the application the Department of Education will review. “The plan that Board of Education has is the same one that every member of council had time to review and discuss and deliberate for quite a bit of time. Nothing was changed to that plan.”
We’re told by the County Executive’s Office the application is in the mail to Harrisburg, where they told Erie County that the application needs to be to them by Monday in order to be discussed in their July 11th meeting.