Press-Republican

Education

February 22, 2013

CCC faculty question finances

PLATTSBURGH — Concerns were expressed to Clinton Community College’s Board of Trustees regarding the management of the school’s money over the past four years.

During the public-comment portion of this week’s board meeting, some CCC faculty members said Clinton Community President John Jablonski ignored declining high-school enrollment in the area, as well as SUNY’s October 2009 warning to the school that substantial reductions in state funding were on the horizon.

“Instead, and with overconfidence, President Jablonski went about spending down our fund balance at a time when we should have tightened our belt,” said Janice Padula, a professor of math and science at the school.

Jablonski told the Press-Republican in a separate interview that, in each of the last two years, the college budgeted for both declining enrollment and reduced state aid.

“That’s just a matter of record,” he said.

FUND BALANCE

During the meeting, Padula presented the board with a graph she said was generated using information from the college’s last four Annual Reports of the Controller, indicating that the college’s expenses were below revenue in the 2009 and 2010 budget years but exceeded revenues in 2011 and 2012, resulting in the use of about $1 million in fund balance.

“Overspending the revenues that were generated is not a way to manage a budget ... These proposed layoffs will only widen this million-dollar gap even further,” she said.

The college, Jablonski told the Press-Republican, did use fund balance in recent years, as has almost every community college in the SUNY system.

“Many of us have drawn on our fund balance during this time of declining state support and, I might add, declining enrollment across the state,” he said.

CONFLICTING NUMBERS

Padula presented the board with another graph based on the college’s annual reports indicating that, while overall salary expenses, not including benefits, increased in 2010, 2011 and 2012, the cost of instructional-staff salaries did not.

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