Post Classifieds

Budget meetings open to public

By Matt Brown
On March 31, 2014

On February 24 it was announced that Delta College is facing a serious budget deficit as officials plan for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Rumors quickly spread that the school faced a hidden deficit ranging from $1.6 million to $2.2 million.

In actuality, the administration found itself unexpectedly facing a large loss in projected revenue. President Jean Goodnow has reached out internally for student and staff input, and with the winter semester winding down, Delta College students are anxiously awaiting answers.

The General Fund is the primary operational fund of the College, and is used to account for the College’s academic and instructional programs and their administration. The major sources of revenue recorded and budgeted in the General Fund include state appropriations, property taxes, and tuition and fees, which together account for approximately 98% of the total General Fund revenues. Simply, Delta College can either reduce its spending or increase its revenues.

Attempting to increase revenue comes with a catch. With property taxes in stagnancy, a good place to start is with tuition and fees, which accounts for 42.4% of the main revenue. However, the surprise legislation came from Governor Rick Snyder, whose proposed higher education budget would require Michigan’s 15 public universities to limit tuition increases no more than 3.2 percent if the school wished to receive full funding from the state.

Additionally, the college estimates a drop in 10,000 students enrolling. This loss of 10,000 credit hours created a projected loss from anywhere between $1.6 and $2.2 million. This year, revenue from new enrollment is down as total credit hours have dropped 4.4 percent, which is an issue faced by every community college in the state of Michigan.

Cutting spending doesn’t look much better: Most of the budget is instructor costs – 46.3 percent to salaries and 25.2 percent fringe (healthcare, sick days, etc…) We can only hope as a community, and college, that there will be no major layoffs or cancelations of programs. Students depend on having courses regularly available to complete their degree program in a timely manner.

Our administration and faculty have the greatest knowledge of our programs, departments, services and processes. Creating and submitting a balanced budget is a task that is consistently faced by our administration. These deals don’t happen behind closed doors, either; all board meetings are open to the public.

The budget meetings occur in May and June, and the date and time of public hearing in June is legally required to be posted in newspapers in the area. As a publicly funded institution, Delta College provides information and financial reports to the public as well. We urge students to become more aware of administrative events, to attend the meetings, and to keep up with the current and future reports from your school.

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