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Our View: Fewer hours wise at MCC

Published: Friday, June 7, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

The McHenry County College Board is taking some wise steps to make sure the college’s finances, and more importantly taxpayers, don’t get trampled as changes from the Affordable Care Act unfold.

About half of the college’s teaching faculty are adjunct instructors who work for the college on a part-time basis. It’s a common formula in community colleges that benefits taxpayers and the students.

Students often get an opportunity to learn from professionals in the corresponding academic fields – learning about criminal law or police procedures from active assistant state’s attorneys or police officers offers students so much more than academic theory.

Since most of these instructors already have full-time jobs and benefits, they don’t need benefits such as health insurance from the college. They are only paid for their appreciated work.

But because of requirements in the Affordable Health Care Act, those instructors whose workload creeps past 30 hours per week would be entitled to health insurance.

The requirement, like many requirements of the act slowly becoming unearthed, would put taxpayers in a bind unless college officials were thinking ahead. MCC was and decided to limit adjunct faculty members’ course load to 12 credit hours per semester, which equals a 24-hour workweek.

The college’s adjunct faculty association has shown some understandable concerns and is cooperating, which is good to see. We want these adjunct professors to continue providing quality instruction, but taxpayers shouldn’t get hit with unexpected costs for the same services.

There might be some minor inconveniences and more careful bookkeeping to monitor these hours, but it’s in the best interest of everyone to do so. College officials are correct to take these proactive measures.

Affordable, quality instruction is the best thing a community college can offer.

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