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BCC cuts its budget
Still able to plan for raises
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Barton Community College trustees have proposed a budget that asks for about $900,000 less in local tax dollars for the next year — a move designed to hold the mill levy at the 2014 level.
The BCC trustees met Tuesday and approved next year’s operational budget and a budget for publication. It is scheduled to appear as a public notice in Thursday’s Great Bend Tribune.
The notice will also announce the public budget hearing, set for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11, in room F-30 of the Fine Arts Building on campus.
Dean of Administration Mark Dean explained that the college doesn’t set the actual mill levy. Instead, it budgets for a dollar amount to be levied — in this case $8,056,807. The estimated tax rate, 33.124 mills, is based on what should raise that much money, using valuations certified by the county clerk earlier this month.
The budget takes into account the funding needed for new welding and wrestling programs, and continued community use of the college’s swimming pool, Dean said. It calls for a 5 percent reduction in operational expenditures from all departments, “which is less than the 10 percent we talked about.”
“This budget also supports 3.5 percent increased funding for wages,” he said.
Continued enrollment growth helped offset the loss in local tax dollars, and the college has projected another 1 percent enrollment increase next year.
Trustee Chairman Mike Johnson praised the administration for holding the line on costs. Barton ended Fiscal Year 15 with cash carryover going into Fiscal Year 16. Budget documents note: “This carryover will be important as we will use this to offset the request for approximately $900,000 less in taxes. This is due to the lower oil valuation. The carryover will also offset the FY16 budget deficit and any allotment that the governor may request for next year.”
Johnson said it would be hard to find another Kansas college with Barton’s record of uninterrupted enrollment growth.
“I think it’s important to see a wage increase even though times are tight,” he continued, noting the college has worked to maintain competitive wages for retaining faculty and staff.
Trustee Don Learned agreed, saying, “I think it’s a positive note, to give our employees a raise.”
In other business:
• Trustees approved a one-year contract with Canvas, for $66,646. That company is replacing eCollege Pearson as the provider of the system for its online courses.
• Josha Schmitt was hired as assistant volleyball coach and residence hall manager, and Collene Schneider was hired as a custodian on the Barton County campus.
Schmitt is a  graduate from the University of Kansas where she was the volleyball manager for five years. She also played on the varsity team at Great Bend High School.