The budget for higher learning in Gila County is getting a big boost.
The Gila County Community College board voted unanimously to adopt a $4,686,604 budget for the 2006-2007 fiscal year at its regular meeting on Thursday, June 8.
This is an increase of $819,996, or 21.1 percent, over the 2005-2006 budget of $3.8 million.
The majority of the increase adds full-time instructors and a 10 percent salary increase for part-time instructors, according to GCC senior dean Margo Bracamonte.
"We are going to be bringing on four new faculty members," Bracamonte said.
"We are just starting to advertise now, but the positions are (for instructors of) English in Payson, biology and math in Globe and developmental education in San Carlos," she said.
Included in the new budget is two years of $677,726.50 in grant money from the Arizona Department of Commerce to Eastern Arizona College and GCC. The grant is for three years and breaks down as follows according to Todd Haynie, coordinator, marketing and public relations for EAC:
- EAC and GCC equally split $239,627.25 in fiscal year 2006.
- EAC and GCC will equally split $310,519.25 in fiscal year 2007.
- EAC keeps the balance of $127,580 in fiscal year 2008.
GCC has used their portion of the grant to pay the salaries of two instructors for the nursing program, according to Bracamonte: Susan Blazevich and Linda McLennon.
Blazevich comes to GCC with 20 years experience in nursing, three years teaching at Central Arizona College and most importantly a master's of science in nursing.
That degree is what allows her to teach the classroom portion of the registered nursing program and means there is now space for 20 students, at Globe and at Payson, to begin registered nursing classes in the fall.
Blazevich will be based in Globe. She will teach courses on the Payson campus via ITV (satellite).
McLennon, with a bachelor's degree in nursing, will teach in Payson.
"Originally we had talked to her about having our CNA classes (at all three campuses)," Bracamonte said. "However, this summer we have had to switch her to the RN program to do the clinicals in Payson."
GCC administration met with Payson Regional Medical Center CEO Chris Wolf and director of nursing Eunice Rech to discuss GCC's registered nursing program and plans for the future, said Harry Swanson, Payson campus dean.
Payson Regional Medical Center is currently accepting GCC nursing students in clinical rotation, according to Rech.
The deadline to apply to the RN program has been extended to June 30. Applications may be picked up at the college, 201 N. Mud Springs Road, Payson.
Swanson said he was invited to meet with the Gila County Foundation to discuss ways the college and foundation could partner to meet needs not fully met by the internal budget.
GCF scholarship applications are available at the college.
Acceptance of the $4.6 million dollar budget also came with the stipulation that a work study meeting be held so that board members could see how resources in the budget were allocated across the three campuses and programs.
"I would urge that for the next budget we go to a cycle that I believe Chairman Ashford asked for when Pima was the provider -- that there be extensive planning sessions," said the board's newest member Don Crowley.
He cited last year's senior scholarship, costing $200,000 when the budgeted amount was only $50,000. The budgeted amount for 2006-2007 is $75,000.
"Listening to Ms. Kniffen, Mr. Crowley and Mr. Pastor, they've all said there are things they would like to see changed in (the budget)," said board member Larry Stephenson.
"I would like to hear these changes. Maybe I concur with them. These are the kind of discussions we need to have."
The date of the study meeting has not yet been announced.
A truth in taxation hearing was also held at the June 8 meeting.
More than $2.5 million of the money in the 2006-2007 budget to run GCC comes from property tax, based on the assessed property value.
Taxes are 6.288 percent per $100,000 in assessed property value.