MALONE –– North County Community College is seeking an increase in funding from Franklin County in the amount of $50,000 due to a decrease in enrollment rates. The college is also seeking the same amount from Essex County.
NCCC President Steve Tyrell came before the Franklin County Legislature Thursday to discuss the 2014-2015 budget and request the board consider the increase in funding.
Mr. Tyrell stated the college has not asked for an increase in funding since the 2009-2010 budget. Total funding from both counties represents $2,380,000 for operating expenses, plus an additional $100,000 for capital expenses –– $1,190,000 for operations and $50,000 for capital expenditures from each county.
“We are incredibly appreciative of both counties and how they have supported the college over the years and how they have been there when they can. We are interested in having a conversation about what are the best next steps when looking at the budget,” Mr. Tyrell said.
Mr. Tyrell said that the budget for this year will be $14,304,000 and reflects a $196,300 or 1.4 percent reduction in spending compared to last year’s budget.
According to Mr. Tyrell, the college was able to reduce operating costs by $720,000, or about 5 percent this year.
One way was through retirements and resignations. The college decided not to refill the positions, but will parcel out the responsibilities among other staff members at the college. Another savings came from reducing information and technology licensing by $300,000.
“We are looking at every angle we can to reduce operating costs and we will have to do that because, as enrollment continues to slide, we cannot sustain our current operating costs,” Mr. Tyrell said.
Mr. Tyrell informed the board that NCCC has seen a decline in their enrollment each year for the past several years –– something which has been occurring across the state at many community colleges. From the 2013-2014 academic year to the 2014-2015 academic year, college officials are predicting a roughly 150-student decrease in enrollment. They also predict that there will be a drop of $561,000 in student revenue next year. Currently the student revenue totals $5,737,500
Mr. Tyrell said the drop in enrollment is due to the recession, shifts in the job market and the drop in high school graduation numbers in the north country. Mr. Tyrell explained that because of the decline in enrollment, the revenue for the college is predicted to be lower than the previous year. The college will be required to use part of its fund balance for the next academic year.
Mr. Tyrell requested that at the board’s June 19 meeting a public hearing on the budget be scheduled for July 3.