LCC employees protest plan to cut school counselors

LANSING, MI – Unionized employees at Lansing Community College are urging the administration not to dismiss three school counselors. Administrators are considering the cuts to address a $3.2 million budget deficit.

Opponents say the counselors perform a critical service at the school. Michigan Association of Higher Education spokeswoman Sally Pierce says LCC should take a closer look at its spending priorities.

"We're watching them buy new furniture, we're watching them remodel buildings that are only three years old...we're watching them apparently have no problem spending money on things, and they're having a very serious problem trying to justify spending money on the people who work here and make things work for students," Pierce says.

LCC President Brent Knight says the school is working hard to lower costs and become more financially efficient. He says the economy is forcing the school to consider eliminating the three positions. Unionized faculty and staff say the school should tap its general fund to keep the counselors. But Knight says he's reluctant to do that.

"Most people think the college should have more money in reserves," says Knight. "And (to) those who would spend that money, I'd like to ask them, do you think that the next 24 months in Michigan are going to be better or worse?"

Knight says the administration is determined not to raise tuition to address the shortfall.