Highland Community College Board of Trustees approves budget
Highland Community College Trustees approved the permanent 2014-2015 budget on Tuesday, September 23, during the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees.
The Operating Funds budget, which comprises instruction, student services, administration, and operations and maintenance of buildings and grounds, amounts to $13.8 million in revenues and $14.3 in expenses for fiscal year 2015. The College continues to face challenges in relation to the main operating revenue sources, which are projected to fall short of expenditures by approximately $500,000. The College will utilize the fund balance, or reserves, in the Operating Funds to offset this shortfall. Fund balance levels are expected to remain at levels recommended by the Illinois Community College Board (at least 20 percent of expenditures).
Overall, the College is budgeting about a 3.7 percent decrease in operating revenue from the actual fiscal year 2014 level.
The main sources of revenue in the operating funds are state funding, student tuition and fees, and local property taxes. State funding has decreased from last year by seven percent, and is $134,000 less than it was last year. On the whole, local sources make up 45 percent of the budget; tuition and fees make up 36 percent, and state funding makes up about 13 percent.
Like many other Illinois community colleges, Highland's enrollment levels are decreasing to levels normally experienced prior to enrollment spikes in 2009 and 2010, which impacts tuition and fee revenue. District-wide assessed valuation is expected to continue to drop for the upcoming tax year, resulting in about three percent less property tax revenue than received in the prior year.
The majority of the operating budget comprises instruction and services that directly impact students.
The fiscal year budget includes the issuance of $3.3 million funding bonds that will be used to improve classrooms, labs, and other student learning areas. This will also allow the College to maintain the technology infrastructure.
"We anticipate there will be little change in the overall tax rate of roughly 48 cents per $100 of EAV (equalized assessed valuation) and little to no impact to property tax payers from the issuance of funding bonds," said Vice President of Administrative Services Jill Janssen. "This will be done through the tapering off of existing bonds and the reduction of other special levies."
The state owes the College about $133,000 from last year's unrestricted funding allocations. The restricted grants were paid in full in August.