Press-Republican

August 11, 2013

Clinton Community College submits trimmed down budget

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Clinton Community College officials have presented a trimmed-down budget for the 2013-14 academic year, showing about $600,000 in cuts.

The spending plan eliminates 11 full-time positions and institutes a tuition hike.

“We made some tough decisions, and we didn’t take them lightly, but in the long run, we thought they were required,” CCC President John Jablonski told Clinton County legislators at their recent Finance Committee meeting.

REQUEST UP 3.6%

The college is looking for a 3.6 percent increase in funding from the legislature, adding $89,788 for a total cost of $2,554,828.

The rest of the money for CCC’s proposed $15 million budget comes from student tuition, state aid and payments from other counties that send students to the college.

Jablonski said that although state-aid contributions for the coming school year are up by $136,727 (3.6 percent), the school is still trying to recover from a 21 percent drop in state aid that occurred in 2009.

LOWER ENROLLMENT

Because enrollment figures are also expected to level off due to smaller class sizes at area high schools, the budget includes an expected drop in student revenue of about $303,000.

Projections figure on 1,188 full-time students in 2013-14, down from 1,269.

To address shortfalls in revenue, the school has cut about $602,000 in personnel costs. The college offered an early retirement incentive this year that helped reduce the staff by five.

The school also retrenched several positions last fall, leaving some spots open that will not be filled.

In another cost-savings move, non-union management confidential staff would not receive a raise for the second straight year.

TUITION UP $140

Tuition for full-time students would go up 3.6 percent for a total cost of $3,960, an increase of $140 from the current year.

The budget would not use any money from the fund balance, slated to be $903,993 or 6.63 percent of net operating costs. The state recommends a fund balance of between 5 and 15 percent of operating costs.

The college used $436,220 from that source for this year’s budget, but Jablonski said they don’t want to touch it for 2013-14.

“One of the reasons we made the reductions that we did was because we did not want to fall below that 5 percent for our fund balance,” he said.

‘GUT-WRENCHING’

Legislator Robert Butler (R-Area 6, Saranac) commended Jablonski and his staff for presenting a reasonable budget.

“You’ve made some tough, gut-wrenching decisions,” he said.

Legislator Mark Dame (R-Area 8, City and Town of Plattsburgh) said the cuts that CCC made show a willingness to stay viable.

“Clinton Community College is probably our biggest asset in the community in terms of culture and economic impact,” he said.

“All of the programs they do help create a community.”

VOTE ON AUG. 28

Legislators will hold a public hearing on the budget request at their meeting on Aug. 28 and then vote on it.

Jablonski said he hopes the funding will be approved.

“I think we got a good reception from the legislators, and I think part of that is that we made it clear that we’ve taken the appropriate steps to contain costs and maximize revenue,” he said.

Finance Committee Chairwoman Sara Rowden (D-Area 4, Town of Plattsburgh) said she was impressed with the college’s budget plans.

“It looks like they made some changes that needed to be made, and that makes us, as a county, feel better,” she said.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com