LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- JCTC began the first in a series of layoffs Thursday.

Outside Chestnut Hall at the heart of the Jefferson Community and Technical College Campus the signs tell all that "education begins here." On Thursday, however, the downtown Louisville campus got a tough lesson in economics.

"We've notified or are in the process of notifying 61 people that their positions are being eliminated, said JCTC President Ty Handy. 

It's Handy's first major move since taking over as JCTC President a few months ago. He says the school is facing an $8.5 million deficit.

"It's a little discouraging as a student because of all the cuts that have already happened," said JCTC student Eric Rhemrev. 

The community college has lost about 4,000 students in the last four years, and the current enrollment is under 11,000. 

The first round of layoffs is impacting administrative and staff positions, and they won't end here. 

"I doubt that this is it, this is part of balancing the budget, so we have to look at the instructional side of the house as well," Handy said. 

Handy expects about 40 more job cuts at the classroom level, including professors and instructors; the school is also considering eliminating two to three degree programs.

"The intent is to have a little impact as possible for students," Handy said.

Rhemrev finds it hard to believe that students won't be adversely affected. 

"It's supposed to be a two-year college and my stay is already four because of cuts to classes," Rhemrev said. "Now with cuts to staff, that's just going to make things even more difficult."

JCTC is trying to shift its course offerings to boost enrollment around the needs of the job market. The school wants to invest millions in a new advance manufacturing program and IT Center. The cuts affected all six JCTC campuses. There are three in Louisville and one each in Bullitt, Carroll and Shelby counties.

Despite budget cuts at the state level, JCTC leaders say the layoffs are due more to the fact that enrollment is down. The school is losing thousands of students every year.

"To the staff, I regret that this is a necessary activity," Handy said. 

The cuts at JCTC mirror declining community college enrollment across the state. We've also learned Elizabethtown Community and Technical college eliminated about 25 jobs earlier this week.

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