Luna's GED program may lose money, officials say

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By David Giuliani

Luna Community College’s GED program is on track, but it may lose funding within the next year, officials said last week.

Officials told Luna’s Board of Trustees that because the program didn’t meet benchmarks previously, it may lose state money. The program is under guidelines to retain so many students at certain points during the school year, and the program had missed some targets previously, they said.

Jim Spengler, the director of adult basic education, said the GED program has 151 students enrolled now, but that number is going up every week. He said he has been impressed with the students and that only one has caused any sort of problem for the program since he started earlier this year. “We take the students who didn’t fit in a high school environment,” he said.

He said four students recently took the GED, or general educational development, test, and three passed. The other missed by just one point, he said.

The GED program has programs in such places as Raton, Mora, Springer, Santa Rosa and the county jail.

“We have to increase our numbers or we are going to take a hit in our budget,” Spengler said.

He said that unfortunately, the programs away from the main campus are usually the first to suffer when there are GED budget cuts.

“Our budget will take us through the summer,” he said, adding that at some point, his program may need to ask for financial help from Luna’s general fund.

The GED program now has a $173,000-a-year budget, but the budget hit may be around $25,000, Spengler said.

Trustee Levi Alcon said the college needs to do what it can to keep the off-campus sites open. When they are open off and on, that hurts enrollment, he said. “The kids get disappointed,” he said.

Vidal Martinez, vice president for instruction and student services, told the trustees there were several options for getting the funding the program needs.