Gila Community College is working to navigate a $125,000 reduction in funding from Gila County.
At the August governing board meeting, Susan Gallo, District Finance Coordinator, stated in the financial report, “Gila County funding started when Mike Pastor was in office. It continued for eight years under his direction, through last year and now this year with reduced funding. We never really counted on it but had it in the budget as a line item to make it balance.”
The funding has been reduced by 50 percent, down from $250,000. This will be the last year of funding from Gila County.
Janet Brocker, secretary, asked, “Is there a revised budget without the county money, showing the renegotiated amount coming from the county? Will we see the revised budget?” The current budget was determined anticipating the full $250,000.
Gallo replied “We don’t do a revised budget, it has already been approved and published. We will watch our spending and line items and do what we can to save money.”
Brocker asked if the savings will be incorporated into their reports to which Gallo replied, “No, you will see it only in the line items where the expenses are reduced in the overall budget you’ll see reflected in the recap. You won’t know exactly what we’re trying to save only in comparing the two budgets.”
Brocker said, “I’m concerned the board already approved the budget and has the responsibility for it and wants to make sure of transparency.”
Board member Sam Moorehead said, “The county receives tremendous value from us and if we weren’t here they would incur a tremendous expense for reimbursing people for out-of-county tuition. Can we get the county supervisors to revisit this?”
Brocker asked for more information regarding the reduction of funding from the county.
Senior Dean Cullen said, “I’m not at liberty to share reasons with the board without having the county supervisors present. They did indicate funding would be available for special projects aside from the allocation we would receive from them. They’ve been a good partner.”
Cullen said they have “sharpened the pencil” and will be able to meet the commitments of the budget by moving around line items and carrying forward the cash balance.
After the meeting, board president Jay Spehar talked to county manager James Menlove about the funding cuts. “I reminded him that through its ‘provisional’ status GCC saves the county over a million dollars annually the county would otherwise have to pay for residents who attend colleges outside the county.
“GCC has a positive economic impact of over $25 million annually. Mr. Menlove said the county will consider partnering with GCC on special projects in the future but can no longer provide annual funding. In the past, county funding has been used for facility maintenance and improvements,” Spehar said.
Nursing Skills Lab
In other matters, Cullen reported that the Nursing Skills Lab is almost completed and equipment has been moved over from Banner Skills Lab. Dean Pamela Butterfield is putting together a complete list of equipment and will have an open house in the fall.
Heating/cooling vocational classes
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) courses will be offered this fall and will no longer be located at the County Yard. Menlove and Dean Butterfield decided to move the classes to the back of the NAPA building and tools for the programs have been ordered. An instructor has not yet been identified.
Gila Community College and Payson Unified School District have 20 sections of dual enrollment this year as part of their Intergovernmental Agreement. Dean Butterfield said, “As we are being able to qualify the high school instructors to teach for us, we are adding them to the roster. Biology, and Calculus 1 & 2 this year, and we’re hoping next year to add history. The instructor is working on his master’s right now.”