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College making progress with state

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By David Giuliani

Luna Community College is making much progress in getting money from the state government for general operations and capital improvements, officials said this week.

Interim President Sigfredo Maestas told the college’s Board of Trustees that the school was slated to lose $619,000 in annual funding for operations because of an enrollment decline. However, he said the college convinced the Legislative Finance Committee to reduce that shortfall by more than $400,000. He said the college would work to get the other $200,000 for the rest of the month-long session of the state Legislature, which began last week.

Maestas also said a key legislative committee has recommended $4.5 million in capital improvement projects, including $3 million for a planned multi-purpose center.

He said the lobbying effort began in November, with Leroy “Huero” Sanchez, a former Luna president, serving as lobbyist.

Trustee Jerry Maestas said the results already demonstrate that Luna made a good choice in its lobbyist.

In other business, Donna Flores-Medina, Luna’s finance vice president, talked about the school’s effort to bring back a health clinic. She said it would cost students $25 a semester for unlimited visits for basic health services.

She said the program would cost the college $70,000 annually. She said Luna staff wants to add a mental health component and provide services to family members of participants.

“We’re looking at access to health care,” she said.

Flores-Medina said the college is aiming to start the program in the fall. She said she originally thought about beginning in the summer but rejected that idea.

“Let’s do it right and take our time,” she said.

Castellano praised the effort.

“This shows Luna’s commitment to the students,” he said.