The budget previously proposed by the Barton Community College Board of Trustees was officially approved Tuesday following a public budget hearing.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said administrators had received no comments from the public, and no one addressed the board Tuesday during the budget hearing.
The budget allows the college to provide quality instruction to its students without raising the mill levy on local property taxes, he said. Because valuations have increased, the college expects to receive $460,000 more in taxes with the same mill levy.
Barton’s operational budget for next year includes $1.2 million in additional spending, and the college is prepared to dip into cash reserves if necessary. The largest of the new spending requests are: $400,000 for academic requests; $350,000 for wage changes; $103,000 for marketing and public relations; $70,000 for security; and $65,000 for information technology. Other requests included in the budget are a Banner (software) specialist for HR, finance, financial aid and enrollment services; admissions rep; admissions testing software; PR staff member; professional development coordinator for half a year, Title IX attorney fees, and athletics.
The board of trustees also held its August study session. Topics discussed:
• The Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for the City of Great Bend allows for residents in specific areas within the city to apply for tax rebates for certain improvements to their properties. It is reviewed every year and trustees will be asked to approve it.
• Barton is in year four of its ten-year Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation cycle. This year the college must prepare a report making the case that it meets the criteria of accreditation. The Core Team — Elaine Simmons, Cathie Oshiro, Jo Harrington, Myrna Perkins, Randy Thode, Brenda Moreno and Sarah Riegel — is coordinating the collection of evidence and writing of arguments.
• The Composite Financial Index paints a composite picture of the financial health of the institution. The Index is built with the values of its four component ratios:
- Primary Reserve – a measure of the level of financial flexibility
- Net Income Ratio – a measure of the operating performance
- Return on Net Assets – a measure of overall asset return and performance
- Viability – a measure of the organizations’ ability to cover debt with available resources
The CFI score is based on a composite of the four ratios. A CFI score of 3 is the threshold of institutional financial health. Barton’s CFI was 3.20 in Fiscal Year 14; 5.03 in FY 15 and 4.42 in FY 16. Vice President Mark Dean said he doesn’t remember the CFI ever being lower than 3.0. The number is typically higher when there are more cash reserves, but at “3 and above, you’re in pretty good financial shape.”