Lake Tahoe Community College revamps budget, looks to rebound enrollment
Lake Tahoe Community College officials have reworked the school’s $21 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year in an effort to ensure accurate revenue and expenditure forecasts.
“We’ve been really cleaning and scrubbing the budget for the last two years,” college president Kindred Murillo said. “One of our goals is at the end of the year to have our expenditures and revenues as accurate as possible. In other words, we’ve been trying to make the projections meet the actuals.”
The college’s board of trustees passed the proposed $21 million budget Tuesday. After a year of scaling down the college’s spending and enrollment under the past four years’ declining state funding, the college hopes to kick off this year with a strong fall quarter. Officials at the school are hoping to bring in 1,750 full-time students this year. Last year’s enrollment totaled just more than 1,500, nearly 500 less than 2009-10 levels.
“When you lose students, you lose revenue,” Murillo said. “Whether we like that system or not, it’s a reality that we live with.”
The college is paid by the state about $4,500 per full-time student. To draw in more students, the college is digging into their reserve funds for more than $400,000.
“We are not particularly fond of having to do this. But the issue for us is we’re down on enrollment,” Murillo said. “We’re budgeting a little bit more to help us maintain enrollment so we can run more classes.”
The funds will help the college pay for more in-demand classes. They’ll also be looking at adding new transfer degrees and career and technical education programs. A soccer program is in the works and the college’s wilderness classes will get renewed support.
“We’re trying to make sure we have as many classes that our students can get into, be successful and move on to meet their goals,” Murillo said. “We’re really focusing on trying to help our kids get into college, into university and into jobs.”
In addition to declining enrollment, unanticipated expenditures as well as over-budgeted funds have been problematic in the past. This year Murillo hopes to avoid any surprises, she said.
“We’re getting more precise,” she said. “There used to be buckets of money that nobody knew what it was for. I think that was from years of nobody going through and scrubbing really hard.”
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