College Board approves current and future budgets

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By Carol A. Clark

Monday evening’s meeting at UNM-Los Alamos was all about the college’s finances.

Campus Resources Director Lisa Clough presented UNM-LA Advisory Board members with revisions on the current budget and projections on next year’s.

The total budget for FY2008-09 with revisions is $4,756,840 and the projected FY2009-10 budget is $4,589,751.

The $167,000 reduction reflects a 2.9 percent cut in state allocations, fewer dollars coming in from the local mill levy and uncollected tuition that is waived for high school students participating in UNM-LA’s dual credit program.

“On the positive side, our enrollment is up and continuing to grow,” Executive Director Cedric Page said. “Like everyone, these days, we have to make due with less but our programs are sound and we will continue to provide a full range of classes for our students.”

Page discussed revenue-generating opportunities for the college and said he is looking at expanding contract training. Area casinos are in need of training employees in organizational development, human resources, language skills and customer service, he said.

Department personnel were included in the budget-building process for the coming year, Clough said.

Key contributing elements that guided the development of the budget include the fact that state appropriations will decrease by $68,200 from FY09 to a total of about $2.3 million. A decrease of $77,639 was included for mill levy collections based on the reduced assessment rate with the retirement of debt service, she said.

Also affecting the budget building process were a tuition revenue increase of $22,800 based on enrollment growth this year. The Advisory Board approved a tuition increase to $49 per credit hour March 9 for resident students and $141 for non-residents.

Page and Clough will attend a UNM Board of Regents meeting Thursday to present the tuition increases for approval. The increase will generate some $17,100 for the college.

“We always have the challenge to do more with less,” Clough said during her presentation in the Student Center on campus.

One of the departments in which the college is being challenged to do more with less is marketing or community relations.

Board Chair Marie Chiravalle took exception to the budget reduction in that department saying marketing is needed now more than ever.

“We need an all-out aggressive push for marketing and I don’t think it should be left to one person,” said Chiravalle referring to Bonnie Gordon in the Public Information department. “It needs to be beefed up aggressively because there are people – even in this town – who don’t know what UNM-LA does.”

Chiravalle said she wants to see a variety of marketing approaches including the use of radio, newspaper, student committees and more.

A lot of the marketing for the college is done through outreach to schools in the surrounding area, Page explained to the board.

“The marketing that works today is the social network,” Page said. “UNM-LA has a Facebook page that Bonnie Gordon developed about a year ago.”

After listening to Chiravalle’s suggestions, Page indicated that the college marketing plan would be revised to employ a variety of approaches for the diverse groups they are trying to reach.

“This is a good college and I’ve not heard of one person that has come back after taking a class and said anything bad – and that’s paramount to us,” Chiravalle said. “I have to say to the staff that you do an incredible job and you do deserve a pat on the back … and in many cases you’re understaffed.”

Board members unanimously approved both restricted and unrestricted budget adjustment requests for this year’s budget and also the budget projections for next year. Board member Michael Wismer was absent.

Advisory Board members Nelson Hoffman and Ron Dolin shared some popcorn used to add interest during Clough’s budget presentation.

She also used candy bars and Cracker Jacks to symbolize the sources and sharing of revenues and resources across the campus.

In other news, this year’s college graduation is scheduled for 6 p.m., May 15. The location this year is Duane Smith Auditorium.

The next board meeting is set for 5:30 p.m., May 11 in the Student Center at the college.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her blog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.