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State and County Governance
The Colorado General Assembly has the overall responsibility for Higher Education in Colorado. The Colorado legislature has made the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) responsible for planning and coordinating higher education in Colorado (House Bill 1187, 1985). The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is under the governance and management of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (House Bill 1237, 1986).
Colorado Commission on Higher Education
The Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE), an agency within the Department of Higher Education, is the central policy and coordinating board for Colorado’s system of public higher education. CCHE serves as a bridge between the Governor, the General Assembly, and the governing boards of the state-supported institutions of higher education.
Eleven commissioners oversee the state’s system of higher education, working with one constitutional and five statutory governing boards. By statute, CCHE is responsible for Higher Education Finance and Appropriations, Academic Programs and System-wide Planning, Capital Construction and Long-Range Planning, and Advanced Technology. The governing board overseen by CCHE for Colorado Northwestern Community College is the State Board of Community Colleges and Occupational Education.
State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education
The Colorado Community College System is governed by a nine-member State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). The Board is responsible for both secondary and post-secondary career and technical education and community college governance. Members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate for staggered four-year terms. One community college faculty member and one student representative serve in non-voting capacities for one year each.
Colorado Community College System (CCCS)
The Colorado Community College System comprises the state’s largest and fastest-growing system of higher education. Currently this system serves more than 247,000 students annually with career, technical, and academic programs in the fourteen state community colleges, seven other post-secondary post-secondary institutions, and 157 public school districts. The majority of public college freshmen and sophomores in Colorado—six out of ten—are served by the Colorado Community College System.
The State Board of Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE) created the Colorado Community College and Occupational Education System (the System) to administer its responsibilities. The staff was restructured by the System President who serves as the Director of Community Colleges and Director of Occupational Education. The Vice Presidents, as well as the state system community college Presidents, report to the President of the System who is responsible to the Board. The name of the system was changed on June 8, 2000 to the Community Colleges of Colorado (CC of C). It was changed again on June 8, 2002 to the Colorado Community College System (CCCS).
Rangely Junior College District Board of Trustees and Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board of Control
In 1998, the electorate of both the Rangely Junior College District (RJCD) and the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District (MCAJCD) voted for CNCC to join the Colorado Community College and Occupational Education System. The College became a member of the State Community College System on July 1, 1999. With state affiliation, the role of the RJCD and the MCAJCD changed. There was a shift in emphasis from local control to that of State control. The locally elected Board members would become an appointed Advisory Board, making recommendations regarding CNCC to the state CCCOES Board. CNCC was already subject to that State agency for program approval, modification or termination – however, operationally, the State System Board and staff rely on the presidents and the local advisory boards to address those issues within the parameters of the budget allocations the institutions receive.
The RJCD and the MCAJCD have historically relied on funding generated from levying property and specific ownership taxes that are used to fund the operations of CNCC. When CNCC became part of the state system, those revenues had to be replaced by other statewide sources. Affiliation did not dissolve the RJCD or the MCAJCD, but decreased the mill levy to 5 mills that would be administered by the Board of Trustees solely to support CNCC. The RJCD Board of Trustees and the MCAJCD Board of Control now only have the decision-making authority to administer tax dollars to:
Continue no or low tuition for the taxing of district residents.
Provide supplemental funding for current or future programs offered by CNCC.
Erect new or renovate existing facilities.
Provide capital funding for equipment, including technology initiatives, not otherwise supported by state funding.
Provide for operating expenses of any locally owned facilities.