Letter to the Editor: Legislators’ decisions should not be about politics, but about the citizens of WV

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Dear Editor:

New River Community and Technical College is in full swing with summer school sessions and preparation for the fall semester. There is never a time that we are not working to provide services to our students and the communities we serve. A government shutdown would disrupt the continuity of services by interrupting classes and delaying registrations and financial aid for students.  How is New River CTC, or any college, expected to provide an education to students when we are faced with the possibility of not having a state budget for fiscal year 2018.  The cuts to higher education will affect the economic development of our communities and southern West Virginia, an area already in dire straits because of the coal industry.

A $33,000,000 cut to higher education as proposed by the Senate would decimate many institutions in this state.  Even with the House proposing less cuts, New River Community and Technical College cannot absorb any state appropriation cut without severe consequences, especially a projected $703,000 cut as reported by Metro News on June 14.  The College has been cut just under $1,000,000 over the last 5 years.  What happens to the students in southern West Virginia who are diligently taking classes to better themselves in order to find jobs that allows them to support their families and stay in West Virginia?

I request that the Legislators please think long and hard about the bills YOU are passing; the people and their lives that YOU are affecting; the students who are working hard to achieve new skills; and the individuals that will be out of jobs after YOU sign YOUR names to the budget bill. I’m sure you have family and friends that will suffer greatly from these cuts. I know from experience that these are difficult decisions and I encourage you to weigh each decision carefully. I do pray that your decisions are not about politics, but about the citizens of West Virginia.

L. Marshall Washington, President

New River Community and Technical College