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State cutbacks threaten Ivy Tech growth

Longtime Ivy Tech employee student affairs Queen King-Smith (left) congratulates student Tai'JTookes Gary (right) her poem she read during tree

Longtime Ivy Tech employee in student affairs Queen King-Smith (left) congratulates student Tai'Ja Tookes of Gary (right) on her poem she read during a tree (background) planting ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ivy Tech Community College at the Gary, Ind. campus Friday April 26, 2013. | Stephanie Dowell~Post-Tribune

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Updated: May 29, 2013 7:45AM



GARY — Ivy Tech officials reminisced about the past 50 years and voiced hope for the future Friday as the state’s community college marked its 50th anniversary.

New Chancellor Thomas G. Coley assisted in planting a ginkgo tree to symbolize that growth and for Arbor Day. Rob Szrom, of Lakeshore Landscaping in Valparaiso, donated the tree that’s on the eastern entrance to the campus on 35th Avenue.

Ivy Tech’s future, however, isn’t as robust today because state funding isn’t keeping up with its booming enrollment.

Earlier this month, Ivy Tech Community College’s board of trustees approved the consolidation of its north central and northwest regions to cut expenses. Coley now oversees a region from the Illinois border in East Chicago to Kosciusko County, midway between South Bend and Fort Wayne.

Coley said the cutbacks come at a bad time, given the workforce demands that Ivy Tech serves. “The growth we’re seeing is put at risk,” he said.

Coley said the merger likely means there will be administrative cutbacks at Ivy Tech’s local campuses in Gary, Valparaiso, East Chicago and Michigan City.

“Our goal is not to impact the quality of instruction,” he said.

Ivy Tech’s enrollment has grown by about 50 percent in the past five years to about 177,000 students. State funding, however, has lagged behind creating a gap now measured at about $60 million.



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