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February 2020


Top ten reasons to support VOTE COPE
Kevin McCoy




New York State Education law §6304 states that 1/3 of each community college's operating budget should come from the state, 1/3 from the county and 1/3 from the students. It further specifies that community colleges that are “full opportunity” colleges should receive 2/5 funding from the state.


Every year New York State and Suffolk County ignore the law and do not fully fund SCCC. 


Our students' tuition and fees now account for nearly 54% of the college’s funding.


89% of our full-time students have jobs and 25% of our students are working over 35 hours a week to help pay for the tuition increases (see chart in "State of our union").


Due to decrease in enrollment and lack of public funding, SCCC has been using the fund balance for the past six years to balance our books. In 2013-14 our fund balance was more than $25 million; at the end of this year the projected fund balance will be a little over $11 million. We are at the breaking point.


Last year we had 474 full-time faculty lines, this year we are down to 453 full-time faculty lines. The FA believes there are too many administrative lines and not enough faculty lines and has been on a major campaign to increase the number of full-time faculty lines. However, unless funding is increased, we will have a hard time increasing the number of full-time tenure track lines even if administrative positions are reduced.


We also rely on both the state and county to provide funding for our capital projects. Over the past several years we have successfully advocated for the following capital projects: Learning Resource Centers at the Grant and Eastern Campuses, the Workforce Development Building at the Grant Campus, the Lindsay Life Science Building at the Ammerman Campus and the Health and Wellness Center at the Eastern Campus.


You have to be in it to win it. We are not the only group that is advocating for state and county funding. There are many other groups, some very well funded, who spend a significant amount of money advocating for their organizations. We do not use union dues for political purposes. Your contributions to VOTE-COPE allow us to go to Albany to advocate for increased state funding for community colleges. 

They also allow us to go to fundraisers for county legislators. Attending a fundraiser for a county legislator is not like attending a fundraiser for a presidential candidate. We are not mingling with the rich and famous over filet mignon and lobster. Typically the fundraisers are held a local pub or community center where you mingle with community activists, members of the building trades, other county union officers and local legislators. Food is usually served from aluminum trays kept warm by sterno.

However, these events allow us to build coalitions and build relationships with legislators in an informal environment. Ultimately, the county legislators are like our school board; they approve our budgets, make decisions on capital projects and vote to approve our contracts. 


Our VOTE-COPE fund has been depleted over the past several years. Many of our retirees were generous VOTE-COPE contributors. Unless other faculty step up to the plate, we will not be able to continue to advocate for state and county funding.


Giving to VOTE-COPE is easy! We will have a table at Professional Development Day on March 3 where you can either increase your VOTE-COPE contribution or fill out a card to start giving to the FA’s VOTE-COPE fund (look for our annual door prizes!).

If you are not planning to attend PDD or if you have any questions about our political advocacy program, email me at