A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, February 14, 2011

County and State Aid Cuts Bring Steep Tuition Increase at Brookdale

Monmouth County has cut its aid to Brookdale Community College by more than 20% ($6 million), according to The Asbury Park Press. And Governor Christie is reducing state aid to Brookdale by more than half a million dollars. The recently released Brookdale budget taps the school's reserves and raises tuition costs 8.2% this fall to make up the loss. Also, the school has instituted a hiring freeze and will leave 21 job vacancies unfilled.

The paper says, "It is understandable that county and state aid fluctuate from year to year depending on the relative health of the economy. But a $6 million cut is not 'fluctuation.' It's a dive off a cliff. The freeholders need to restore at least some of that money in their budget."

The overall strategy of Governor Christie and like-minded politicians is to cut aid so dramatically that the resultant bickering over budgets squeezes every penny of reserves out from frugal local and regional institutions and threatens untold wage and benefit concessions out of unfairly demonized employees. Evidence of the failure of this approach at Brookdale will come soon enough in the form of overcrowded classrooms, a poorly maintained infrastructure, plummeting student performance levels, less skilled instructors and frustrated and angry students and their parents.

UPDATE: Under all this intense scrutiny, BCC's Board of Trustees decided to dig back in their financial records and match up the benefits they've been paying Peter Burnham to the benefits they were allowed to offer him by school policy, per APP. They already knew they had a public relations problem, but they needed to see if they had other problems. So they are conducting an audit and have suspended Mr Burnham and the finance guy who'd been paying him.  The whole thing makes the Freeholders look good, like they are saving us all sorts of money, but now we have a former policeman with an education degree but no prior association with BCC running the place instead of a man with 20 years experience, as well as God knows who running the business and finance department. We'll certainly save some money and run a couple of guys' reputations through the mud, but will we continue to have a top notch community college?


  1. I've updated this article now that Peter Burnham and George Fehr have been suspended at Brookdale.

  2. 86% of their students can't handle a two-year program or transfer to a 4-year college during that time period. Is this the standard for "top notch"?

  3. Do you really think that students are going to Brookdale to earn an Associates degree and are somehow failing to achieve that goal? My wife and I, my daughter and my neighbor's daughter, and countless others have taken courses at Brookdale but moved on to four-year schools without earning an AA. Those stats really aren't helpful. The school serves a useful purpose and offers a top notch curriculum. I suppose you've not taken courses there.

  4. Look again at the numbers. According to the latest statistics, after two years, only 13.6% get an associates degree OR transfer to a 4-year school.

    We're also not talking about adult education classes. I took classes at Brookdale to get a real estate license.

    And then there's the stat that over half their students will never get a 2 or 4-year degree.

    A place where most kids dropout is not a healthy educational environment.