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NWC budget decreases slightly from previous year

Board of Trustees approve $32 million for fiscal year 

Following a public hearing with no comments from the public, the Northwest College Board of Trustees on Monday approved the college’s budget for fiscal year 2015, which began July 1.

It will be  $32,579,095, down slightly from last year’s adjusted budget of $33,004,065.

Sheldon Flom, NWC finance director, told the board that estimated revenue from Park County property tax — 3 mills mandatory plus an optional 1 mill — increased to $4,871,474 — $14,606 over last year’s total property tax of $4,856,868. That’s an improvement over the previously forecast 4 percent decrease, which later was reduced to 2 percent, then to essentially the same as last year, Flom said.

NWC President Stefani Hicswa praised Flom’s work on the budget.

“Sheldon spent 80 to 90 hours on this,” she said. “The benefit of having such an experienced budget director is, he knows this budget inside and out. You can almost guaranteed it is dollar-for-dollar accurate.”

According to the budget, local taxes make up 14.95 percent of the college’s revenue, while state appropriations of $14,247,795 comprise 43.73 percent.

Tuition and fees, estimated at $4,494,340, are expected to bring in 13.8 percent of the college’s anticipated revenue; restricted sources, such as grants, make up 13.33 percent, or $4,341,809; and the auxiliary fund — used for student housing and meals, the child care center, the fitness center and other non-educational revenue and expenses — is expected to bring in 13.98 percent, or $4,553,427. Other income sources total $70,250, or 0.22 percent.

This year, the Wyoming Legislature restored some of the funding it cut from the Wyoming Community College Commission’s budget last year, resulting in a $270,000 revenue increase for NWC over last year.

However, because of an anticipated decline in enrollment, tuition is expected to decline by $181,818 compared to last year, despite a 5 percent tuition increase by the WCCC.

The college’s spending this year is budgeted at $32,403,399. Of that, approximately $12.97 million will go for salaries; $5.84 million for benefits; $12.4 million for operating expenses; $749,145 for capital outlay and $444,483 for transfers.

Broken down differently, spending is as follows: $10.1 million will be spent on instruction; $114,519 on public service; $2.7 million for academic support; $2.7 million for student services; $5.23 million for institutional support; $2.56 million on plant operations; $4.4 million on scholarships; $4.46 million for the auxiliary fund; $12,451 for auxiliary federal work-study, and $444,483 for transfers — $420,000 of which will go toward debt service on the new Yellowstone Building.

Later in the meeting, Hicswa noted that, from last spring to this spring, enrollment at Northwest declined by 10 percent.

“We know high school graduates are decreasing, and we have to adjust for that,” she said.

“I can explain the whys, but the whys don’t matter,” she said. “What matters is what we’re going to do about it.”

Hicswa said her leadership team is exploring several ideas to increase enrollment. Among them, “We’re looking at ways to get faculty involved,” she said. “The data shows that’s the best way to do it.”

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