The Crower College Board of Trustees considered on first reading a nearly $55.9 million preliminary budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year in a Friday morning board meeting.
The budget reflects approximately $4.8 million more in expenditures for the coming fiscal year than in the current budget, as well as a $4.2 million increase in revenue, with the total estimated revenue budgeted at $56.2 million.
Jim Cummins, Crowder’s vice president of finance, said the college remains in good shape financially, though due to the expiration of some grants, the college will be working with a tighter budget in the coming fiscal year.
“Overall we’re still in a very strong position,” Cummins said. “We built up a nice cushion. This budget is going to be tighter than in years past because we have a combination of some factors that are playing into it. We’ve got some significant grants running out.”
Cummins said the college is currently working to attain new grants, however, some personnel were paid out of grants that are now expiring, and will now have to be paid out of institutional funds.
“We’re going to be down about $1.6 million in grant revenues, assuming that we don’t re-write some in the new year, which I’ve not accounted for,” Cummins said. “I know they’re working so things can certainly change as grants change. A combination of a lot of things happening at once caused us to get a little sharper with our pencil this year.”
The proposed budget accounts for a 2 percent increase in tuition, which the board approved in March, as well as a 2 percent increase in local taxes.
Cummins also proposed in the new budget a 2 percent wage increase for full-time personnel, and a $25 per credit hour raise for adjunct professors.
Meanwhile, the college expects $4.3 million in state funding, with an additional $1 million in state grants, federal grants that flow through the state and customized training funding.
“The assumptions that we’re making in the present budget as it’s presented, we’re assuming a 2 percent increase in tuition, we’re assuming a 2 percent increase in local taxes, no new grants, no increase from the state and we’re matching our cash infusion with our cash expenditures for all of our capital projects,” Cummins said.
The board of trustees is expected to vote on the budget in May.
The board also heard some early information from Cummins on the potential construction of new residence halls at the main campus in Neosho.
Cummins said the college has looked at adding 200 beds, which would come to be an approximate $7.5 million project.
The new residence hall style would feature four-person suites, with two students in each room connected by a shared bathroom.
“We found in residence halls there’s a lot of common space and if we’re going to use it as a recruiting tool, ‘come have a campus life’, then we can’t just make it a motel where they walk in the motel and walk out onto the parking lot,” Cummins said. “It’s got to be more of a residence-life type facility, so that’s what we’re presenting.”
Following the meeting, Cummins said he expects to come back to the board next month with some early drawings.
He said he also plans to continue looking into financing options for the project.
“Then we’ll let [the board] begin to formulate whether that’s something that we want to go forward with,” Cummins said. “I think the feeling is that we definitely do, but we want to see what it’s going to look like and what it’s going to cost.”
The board also voted on Friday to renew a five-year agreement with their food service provider, Great Western Dining.