College Budget Up For Discussion

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With Gila County Community College's 2007 budget up for discussion and possible action on the June agenda, governing board member Don Crowley, questioned the budget's format and line items at the recent May meeting.

"The format is a legacy from three years ago," Crowley said.

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Don Crowley, Gila County Community College District board member

He suggested a move to a format that would be "user friendly" and give "a more realistic view" -- system that segmented overhead administrative costs while allowing the board to look at spending on each campus.

Instructor and staff salaries, benefits and senior scholarships were areas Crowley questioned.

"Senior scholarships are now over $200,000, or four times the budgeted amount," Crowley said. "This is another category it would be helpful to see by campus."

Senior dean Margo Bracamonte said she is allowing time in her schedule to meet with board members individually to answer any questions they may have about the budget.

She is expecting 750 full-time student equivalents in the combined campuses.

A few budget items she highlighted were:

Instructor costs are going up $204,000 to cover the cost of three new full-time instructors -- English in Payson, math and biology in Globe.

The fringe and flexible benefit programs have increased with staff. Operational personnel have increased as well as a few part-time support personnel positions.

"It's not going to be a perfect budget," Bracamonte said. "But we will really be able to zero in next year."

Chester Crandell, superintendent of NAVIT (Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology) and assistant superintendent Matt Weber were part of Payson campus dean Harry Swanson's report.

Twenty-two of the Payson campus' 24 graduates were from the certified nursing assistant program and most of those were funded by NAVIT, according to Swanson.

Our focus has been to provide career and technical education in rural Arizona and, where feasible, it makes much more sense to partner with community colleges who already have excellent programs," Weber said.

Students enrolled in NAVIT programs attend high school classes half the day and college the other half for 18 weeks.

Health care and fire were the two main programs the Payson community requested.

"Students get college credit from the college and high school credit from NAVIT, but we also place a lot of emphasis on certification," Weber said.

The budget will be discussed again during regular and special meetings to be scheduled in June.

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