February’s regular monthly meeting of the Navajo County Community College Governing Board on Tuesday, February 19, was dominated by reports in preparation for upcoming budget hearings and the November visit by a team from the Higher Learning Commission, Northland Pioneer College’s accrediting agency.
Chief Business Officer Maderia Ellison explained the annual adjustment to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget in completing the Expenditure Limitation (EL) report. As anticipated, NPC breached the expenditure limit, but is using excess expenditure capacity from prior years, known as carryforward, to meet the limit. Using carryforward allows for the continuation of services, without reductions imposed by an outdated state formula for calculating the expenditure limit.
That state EL formula assumed continuous growth in property valuations and populations, which is not the case for Navajo County. NPC President Mark Vest, along with other community college presidents, are continuing a push, started by his predecessor Dr. Jeanne Swarthout, to have the legislature adjust the formula to compensate for negative valuations, such as the pending closures of the Navajo and Cholla Generating Stations.
The board approved the adjustment and also accepted the 2017-18 Audited Annual Budget Expenditure Limitation Report from the Arizona Auditor General’s Office.
There are multiple uncertainties in the revenue stream that could impact NPC’s budget next year. While property valuations are positive, the timing of the power plant closures and a pending appeal of the valuation of the TransWestern gas pipeline along the I-40 corridor will impact revenues in the short and long term. Ellison also outlined expected increases in employee compensation and health insurance benefits.
Ellison reviewed the budget assumptions, previously adopted by the board in December, that sets the property tax levy at the maximum allowed, two per cent plus new construction. The preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018-19 was set at the maximum property levy, but following the Truth in Taxation and public budget hearings, the board voted 2-2 to reject the maximum levy increase and instead set it at the lower TNT rate. The revised budget was reduced by $300,872.
In response to requests from board members, Ellison will be preparing two budgets, one at the maximum levy and one at a lower levy, for a future meeting.
Ellison also presented, for first read, the tuition and fees for 2019-20. The tuition rate was previously set at $77, the last phase of a three-year cycle, but she noted that many course fees would be increasing to cover the higher costs of consumables used during instruction. At its March 19 meeting, the board will be asked to confirm the tuition, and approve the general and course fees.
The board also approved:
- Becoming a member of the Strategic Alliance for Volume Expenditures (SAVE) purchasing cooperative and the Purchasing Association of Cooperating Entities (PACE). The no-cost memberships will provide lower prices for materials and services and enhance the purchasing quotation and bidding process;
- Program modifications for the Associate of Arts in Elementary Education (AAEE) transfer degree and the Education Professions Certificate of Proficiency (CP);
- Program modifications to the Film and Digital Video (FDV) Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, Certificate of Applied Science (CAS) and Certificate of Proficiency (CP) and the addition of a new CP in Visual Communications Fundamentals;
- Program modifications to the Fire Science (FRS) Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, Certificate of Applied Science (CAS) and three Certificates of Proficiency (CP);
- The review of General College Operations Policies – part of an on-going review of board-approved policies;
“With registrations open for just over a week, we are half full of our capacity of 250 riders at this year’s Pedal the Petrified (bicycle) tour ride,” remarked Betsyann Wilson, executive director of NPC Friends and Family, during her monthly report to the board. Volunteers are needed for the various SAG stops for the September 14 event. To register, or for more details, visit www.npc.edu/Pedal4Scholarships.
Wilson and President Vest have been visiting with school boards and city and town councils, outlining the various services NPC has to offer. “Feedback has been tremendously positive.”
“Friends and Family will not be hosting a golf tournament this year. Almost every nonprofit organization hosts a golf event and are seeking donations from the struggling small businesses,” explained Wilson. “Instead, we are encouraging folks to follow NPC on Facebook and support the businesses that are offering special deals, such as The House’s NPC Burger, with a portion of each purchase coming back for scholarships,” adds Wilson.
She is also encouraging pre-giving for the upcoming Arizona Gives Day campaign on April 2.
Biology Professor Pat Lopez presented a report on her sabbatical, where she had the opportunity to collaborate with her peers at Glendale Community College, participate in a national biology conference, and volunteer at Petrified Forest National Park, conducting a biodiversity inventory and ecological work at the park.
Faculty Association President Dr. Michael Solomonson introduced Lopez and also presented a four-page written summary of the activities of 20 faculty members outside the classroom. | Read more
Institutional Effectiveness Director Dr. Judy Yip-Reyes explained how the accreditation process works during the board’s work session, and presented a quarterly report during the regular meeting on the Course Improvement Survey of students. The survey was part of a student’s course within the online Moodle Learning Management System (LMS), greatly improving the response rate from previous distribution methods. While responses were highly favorable (85%), board members asked for a report on “what isn’t working.”
Also, during the board’s work session, Ellison updated the board on the search for a construction manager to oversee proposed improvement projects on the Show Low – White Mountain Campus. She also indicated the Request for Qualifications (RFQu) for an architect/design firm was nearly complete, using an example developed by MIT. The selected firm will be LEED-certified, ensuring energy-efficient designs.
Human Resources Director Christine Roediger and Training Coordinator Veronique Diallo explained the development of an operational plan and implementation of mandatory online training sessions for employees. Diallo will be assisting departments in developing their own training videos, and will be building a library of training resources to be used college-wide.
During his monthly report, President Vest outlined two once-competing bills to continue Proposition 301 funding were now merging and included expanded funding for not only K-12, but for community colleges. The future of both bills is uncertain.
Vest had also met with lawmakers about providing a promised second round of funding for capital improvements at the Jake Flake Emergency Services Institute. NPC now oversees operation of the training center and is hoping to have funding included as a line item in next fiscal year’s state’s budget.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, March 19, at 10 a.m. in the Tiponi Community Center on the Holbrook – Painted Desert Campus, 2251 E. Navajo Blvd. The board will meet in work session at 9:30 for a briefing on the upcoming accreditation visit and to discuss the Show Low construction projects. Copies of the agenda will be posted online, at least 24 hours in advance.
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