|By Patrick Whitehurst|
PRESCOTT - Members of the Yavapai College (YC) District Governing Board approved a 9.6 percent increase to the school's 2014 fiscal year budget Tuesday.
The board passed the increase, from $77,609,000 to $85,055,300, by a vote of four to one. YC Governing Board member Robert Oliphant voted against the proposal. He did not elaborate on his reason during the meeting.
The budget approval followed six months of planning, Clint Ewell, vice president for finance administration, said. A 4 percent tuition and fees increase, part of the budget planning process, was approved in March, and will allow for the increased spending.
The school's money comes from tuition and fees, revenue bonds, and property taxes. No increase in property taxes are expected as a result of the current budget increase, Ewell said.
Forty-nine percent of the budgeted $85 million is earmarked for the college's general fund, which includes instruction costs. Restricted funds account for 17 percent of that 85 million. Those funds, Ewell said, represent money granted to the college for a specific purpose and come from grant and other revenue streams.
The district's capital budget, also known as their plant fund, makes up 22 percent of the 2014 budget amount. Debt service accounts for 8 percent of the budget.
As part of the budget approval, the district capital budget will increase by $4.6 million, mostly due to planned renovations of the residence hall on the Prescott campus. The district's operations budget, which will increase 1.4 percent, remains lower than it was in 2010, Ewell said.
"This college was forced to cut the budget in fiscal year 2012 and we've really tried to be good fiscal stewards moving forward," Ewell said.
Staff shifted money from other categories to their contingency funds for the 2014 budget. That shift marked a large increase to the school's contingency fund, which the school intends to use for construction in the coming year.
According to Yavapai College Marketing and Communications Director Mike Lange, $550,000 was shifted from the instruction fund into the general fund. An additional $400,000 was also shifted to pay for the district's plans for large capital projects.
"In case there are additional costs that haven't been identified yet, it gives us some additional room to move so we can stay within the budget," Lange said.
Yavapai College spends approximately 85 percent of their operating budget, about $45 million, on instruction alone, followed by 11 percent on economic development and 5 percent on cultural enrichment.
"At Yavapai College what we're trying to do is have the budget be a reflection of our mission, our vision, our governing board as well as our strategic plan. Our mission is to provide higher quality learning experiences and cultural resources for all the people in Yavapai County," Ewell said.
Yavapai College currently employs 38 full-time faculty, 15 full-time staff members, eight part-time staff, three program directors, three probationary employees, and more than 60 adjunct employees.