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More budget cuts for Northwest College

Once again, Northwest College is bracing for a budget cut for the coming school year.

This time, the revenue shortfall for fiscal year 2018 (school year 2017-18) is estimated at $300,000-$350,000.

That’s far less than the $2 million-plus that college administrators had to cut last year for Fiscal Year 2017, which ends June 30. However, Lisa Watson, vice president for administrative services and finance, told the NWC Board of Trustees last week that, after last year’s huge cut, it’s difficult to find additional areas to trim this year without affecting students or programs.

Budget managers at the college are working now to identify ways to reduce spending in strategic ways to make the needed cuts, Watson said.

Watson gave trustees a list of guidelines developed for that process. Under those guidelines, this year there will be:

• No elimination of programs or services.

• No elimination of competitive and co-curricular activities.

• No compensation increases.

• No special offerings for early retirements.

• Some vacant positions possibly held open for a year.

• Limited use of carryover savings. 

• No additional use of reserves.

“The finance committee is opposed to using additional reserves because we used so much last year,” NWC President Stefani Hicswa told trustees.

A total of $1.7 million was spent from reserves in Fiscal Year 2017 for early retirement payouts, to teach out the discontinued journalism and broadcasting programs, and to pay for the second year of discontinued sports and academic scholarships.

Another $322,834 is budgeted for early retirement payouts during the coming year.

Hicswa will work with budget managers and vice presidents to finalize budget recommendations, which will be presented to the board at its June 12 meeting.

Campus-wide programmatic reviews will be conducted in Fiscal Year 2018, and results will be used to align future funding decisions with the college’s mission and strategic plan, Watson said.

“We’re in a new normal now,” she said. “We will be looking at some additional work next year for all academic and student service programs on campus.”

Because the budget process has become so complicated and involves so many people on campus, faculty members recently requested that the process begin earlier. Consequently, “we are starting the process for Fiscal Year 2019 now,” Hicswa told the board.

1 comment

  • posted by Ken Strausheim

    May 17, 2017 9:22 am

    Irony.. Powell gets expensive medians that don't serve a major purpose, but the schools & college face budget cuts.

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