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GORSKI SCRAPS ECC BUDGET CHANGES

Erie Community College's $190 tuition hike will remain where the ECC board set it at $2,690, County Executive Gorski announced Friday as he vetoed major changes made by the County Legislature in the $64.5 million ECC budget.

However, Gorski did not veto the extra $100,000 that legislators provided to market the school and to pay an agency other than the school to provide day care for students' children due to the ECC board's decision to close the Child Care Laboratory at the City Campus.

"The state Education Law gives the college board of trustees the authority to set the rate of tuition," Gorski said in a letter to the legislators. "The board has already set the approved annual rate at $2,690."

In recent years, the Legislature has tried to prevent tuition hikes, but the lawmakers' efforts were either vetoed by the county executive or rejected by the ECC board.

Gorski's veto scraps the revised ECC budget that the Legislature passed July 17 and that held the tuition level at $2,500 by revising predictions for enrollment upward and increasing estimates of state support.

In his veto, Gorski restored the fiscal levels that he had sent to the Legislature in June. That includes a $500,000 increase in the county appropriation, bringing the county contribution to $11.5 million.

In his letter, the county executive expressed a willingness to have a special committee, proposed by the Legislature, review the college budget process, administration and student services.

"The county executive understands the frustration that the Legislature has and is willing to take a look at the college's budget process next year," said Gorski spokesman Scott Brown.

While seeking to reverse the ECC board's decision to raise tuition, the Legislature accepted the board's decision to scrap the Child Care Laboratory and replace it with day care, probably to be provided through a contract with the YWCA.

Majority Leader Crystal Peoples, D-Buffalo, praised the quality of the YWCA's day care program.

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