CCC&TI braces for big budget cut

Wrangling in Raleigh delays college's budget
Jun. 20, 2013 @ 08:15 AM

Officials at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute have put the college's new budget on hold until the state’s budget passes.

But no matter what happens in Raleigh, the college likely will have to absorb a cut of $1.2 million or more, president Ken Boham said. That’s more than 4 percent of the $27 million the college received from the state in fiscal 2012-13.

The college’s trustees voted Wednesday to authorize a “continuing resolution,” essentially an interim budget allowing the college to operate under the terms of the 2012-13 budget until the trustees can adopt a budget based on its actual allocation from the state.

The General Assembly is supposed to adopt a state budget by July 1, but it often either misses the deadline or barely makes it, so waiting on final figures from the state is not an usual thing for the college, executive vice president Mark Poarch said.

“We don’t allocate it departmentally until we know what we’re dealing with,” Poarch said.

Boham said the college can shift funds from equipment to operations to help soften the blow of a cut.

“We have a very solid means of getting the institution through it,” he said. “We’re going to have to shift money from equipment into operations in order to make it through the fiscal year – and there are other measures under consideration.”

But Boham said he was not ready to speculate on what specific steps might be taken.

The N.C. House, Senate and Gov. Pat McCrory proposed their own versions of the budget for fiscal 2013-14. Legislative leaders are trying to negotiate to settle the differences.

The House’s proposed budget would spend $13 million less than the Senate's on the community college system. Each would raise community college tuition by $2.50 per credit hour.

Scott Ralls, president of the N.C. Community College System, released a statement June 11 criticizing the House’s budget.

“We are already funded at a much lower level than other sectors of education in the state,” Ralls said. “While the House budget recognizes additional roles for community colleges to play and students for us to serve, it continues an overall erosion of resources that places a monumental challenge on all 58 of our community colleges. Our hope is that the final budget will better reflect the vital role community colleges play in our state’s economic recovery and reflect the Senate’s position.”