Co-Lin cuts school week to four days

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NATCHEZ — It’s a cool summer for Co-Lin students this year all because administrators want to turn the air conditioning off, or at least up a little.

In an energy-saving, cost-cutting, student-friendly move, Copiah-Lincoln Community College has gone to a four-and-a-half day week at all of its campuses.

Students only attend classes Monday through Thursday, and administrative and office staff leave at 12:30 p.m. on Fridays.

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“We are on a trial run this summer,” President Ronnie Nettles said. “Energy savings can be significant.”

Nettles doesn’t yet have any money estimate on what the college may save by turning off lights and using less air conditioning on Friday afternoons.

Several other factors went into the decision to cut Friday classes as well, Natchez campus Vice President Teresa Busby said, including making life convenient for the students.

Last summer’s high gas prices were hard on students driving from neighboring counties, and cutting out a day of travel can make a big difference, Busby said.

To compensate for the missed class time, the Monday through Thursday classes last a bit longer this summer.

And employees are coming to work 30 minutes earlier.

The summer hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays. The schedule will be in place until July 24.

The Natchez campus is offering night classes from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“We did this (at the) Simpson County (campus) year round,” Nettles said. “And it was tremendously successful. Students could get a weekend job.”

Co-Lin, like all other state schools, is anticipating further cuts in state funding, Nettles said. But so far, the college has successfully managed a tighter budget, he said.

“We are doing far better than others,” Nettles said. “We’ve been a little bit more conservative in our approach to budgeting in the last year.”

The college has frozen several open positions, but has not laid off any workers, he said. And no layoffs are expected.

“We are going to proceed forward and continue to reduce spending,” Nettles said. “We think if we have any enrollment increase at all, we’ll be able to cover our costs.”

Community colleges statewide are predicting enrollment increases, though Nettles isn’t predicting a large increase locally.