Budgets and the implications of them were front and center
for the Shoreline Community College Board of Trustees at their meeting May 23,
While most of the agenda items were informational, setting the
stage for budget adoption at their June meeting, the trustees did take action in
one fiscal area.
Other items presented at the May 23, 2012 Board of Trustees
- Student recognitions
- DECA national competition finalists
- Phi Theta Kappa participants
- Softball team
- Tennis team
- Program report: Health Informatics and Information
- Core theme report: College Stewardship
The board voted unanimously to redirect a portion its own
reserve account that has been paying the salary of Jane McNabb, Chief
Advancement Officer and Executive Director of the Shoreline Community College
Foundation. Starting July 1, the $90,000 allotment will be aimed at a new
position that will focus on external government relations.
President Lee Lambert said that with increased uncertainty
around funding and policy at the state and federal levels, the college needs to
have a more consistent presence with those lawmakers. Trustee Shoubee Liaw, who
worked in Olympia this past session, noted that while President Lambert and
other college staff make frequent trips to the Legislature and have ongoing
contact, a deeper presence is needed. Lambert said the new position would also
handle his social media communications duties.
The resolution approved by the trustees also included a suggestion that the general college budget include half-time funding
for the Advancement/Foundation position held by McNabb. Lambert told the board that McNabb had
suggested the change.
Lambert also announced that the college is adding a grant
writer, duties that have been parceled out to a variety of deans and directors
in recent years. That position has been filled and Brandon Rogers, who held a
similar job at Clover Park Technical College, is scheduled to start Tuesday,
May 29, 2012. Lambert said the position is needed as the college pursues a
variety of federal and private grant opportunities and dedicated state funding
for higher education continues to decline.
That decline was made clear by Vice President for Administrative
Services Daryl Campbell in a budget presentation during the board’s study
Campbell pointed out that the college now receives less than
half of its total budget from the State of Washington. The shift in funding
from a direct state allocation to state-mandated increases in tuition paid by
students is the cause, Campbell said. He also pointed out that despite the
headlines of a no-cuts state budget for higher education, the college will
actually see about $1.25 million less from state for the coming fiscal year.
Campbell noted the current draft budget for the college
anticipates increased spending for the International Education and Virtual
College strategic initiatives. He also pointed out that the suggested operating
budget spending level includes about a 2 percent deficit. Campbell told the
board he is comfortable with covering that gap from anticipated surpluses from
the current year budget.
This was a first-look at proposed spending for the coming
fiscal year that starts July 1. The board is scheduled to adopt the 2012-13
budget in June.
Other money-related agenda items were centered on various student
fees. In the study-session, student government presented a revenue-neutral fee
shifting proposal. The regular-session included updates by Technical Support
Services Director Gary Kalbfleisch on the first-year experience with a consolidated
college technology fee and by Financial Services Director Stuart Trippel on
state tuition increases as well as college-requested fee adjustments.
The students propose to reduce the student technology fee
and increase the student services and activities (SS&A) fee by the same
amount. They would also make a one-time transfer of funds from the student
technology fee budget to SS&A. The shifts would increase the total budget,
but not actually add any cost to students.
Why the moves? The goal, student leaders said, is to fund a
pilot project referred to as Echo. Echo is software that can track students’
involvement in extra-curricular activities such student clubs and
service-learning opportunities. Echo can then produce a verifiable,
college-endorsed transcript of those activities that students can take with
them, along with their official academic transcript, when applying to
universities or for jobs. Echo is Shoreline’s implementation of the CollegiateLink
product from Campus Labs, Inc.
Student leaders outlined two proposals, one at $1.18 million
and the preferred alternative at $1.3 million. The student budget supports a
long list of key activities and services at the college, including the athletics,
art gallery, concert band and other musical groups, the student newspaper,
discounts at the Parent Child Center and student government itself. President
Lambert said the college supported the preferred alternative.
Kalbfleisch spoke to effectiveness and uses of the
consolidated college technology fee that the trustees approved a year ago and was
implemented for the current fiscal year.
The consolidated fee took the place of a variety of
individual course technology fees and other assessments. The goals were to
provide a stable funding source for computer and other technology replacement
and establish a technology initiative fund for new projects. The TSS director said
those goals are being met.
The fee has generated about $1.1 million so far this year
and has funded a long list of technology upgrades across campus. Kalbfleisch
also outlined projects that will be funded for the coming year by the
initiative fund, many tied to the Virtual College strategic initiative.
Trippel took on the difficult chore of explaining how a
seemingly simple pronouncement from legislators for a 12 percent tuition
increase can turn into almost nothing that actually increases by that amount.
The disconnect, Trippel and others told the board, is that
while lawmakers authorize the increase, the State Board for Community and
Technical Colleges decides how it is implemented. This year, for example, the
state board chose to apply one rate of increase to the first 10 credits a
student takes and a different rate to credits above that threshold. So, any
particular student might see tuition increases that don’t add up to 12 percent.
And, when adding various fees based on student choice to
that picture, it becomes almost impossible to see where a legislatively
mandated 12 percent tuition increase shows up on a student’s bill.
Trippel went over the fee hikes proposed for next year, including
increases for non-students at the Parent Child Center, materials fees for the
CNC Machining program and others.