State legislation scheduled for the special session could decrease the budget further.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
The Alamo Community College District’s Fiscal Year 2018 expense budget is down overall $5.1 million from Fiscal Year 2017, according to a presentation on the July 10 agenda by Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration.
The presentation was planned for the July 10 board meeting, but the meting was postponed until July 18 for lack of a quorum.
The presentation states the budget is down because of an expected decrease in tuition revenue, an increase in tuition exemptions, the loss of revenue from the summer momentum plan and flat state funding from a decrease in contact hours.
The decrease in contact hours is because of the board of trustee’s completion strategy, which encourages students to complete their degree within 60 credit hours, according to the presentation.
The decrease in credit hours has resulted in a projected $5.1 million loss in state funding and tuition revenue.
The presentation states that Fiscal Year 2018 revenue and expense budgets will be amended should there be an unexpected increase in contact hours.
Contact hours have trended downward since Fiscal Year 2010 according to the presentation, which states the district had 24.25 million contact hours in 2010 and 19.82 million estimated contact hours in 2017.
Two charts in the presentation indicate unduplicated enrollment and student headcount figures have remained relatively flat since Fiscal Year 2015, but the presentation projects a nearly 50 percent enrollment growth by Fiscal Year 2030.
The 10-year budget forecast states that enrollment and credit hours will remain flat until Fiscal Year 2020 due to the board’s completion strategy and will increase 3 percent a year by “streamlining enrollment” and developing new AlamoInstitutes.
According to the presentation, non-exempt enrollment was flat between Fiscal Year 2014 and 2016 and tuition-exempt dual credit enrollment increased across the district from 8,884 students in Fiscal year 2014 to 11,992 in Fiscal Year 2016.
The budget accounts for the $4.2 million to implement the compensation adjustment schedule Jan. 1 by cutting travel and catering expenses, temporary staffing “and other expense saving strategies determined at (the) College/Department level.”
The presentation says there is a projected $72.6 million operating budget fund balance for Fiscal Year 2018, with $8.6 million in the available operating budget fund, $53.1 million in the 15 percent fund balance reserve and $10.9 million in fund commitments.
The expense budget presentation proposes a $1 million increase in the operating budget for Northwest Vista College but cuts the operating budgets of all other Alamo Colleges.
The presentation proposes a $4 million decrease in the operating budget for this college, a $2.1 million decrease in the operating budget for St. Philip’s College, a $1.3 million decrease in the operating budget for Palo Alto College and a $1 million decrease in the operating budget for Northeast Lakeview College.
The budget presentation proposes a $1.5 million increase in the student success fund, placing the proposed student success fund at $3.6 million; the presentation also proposes a $2 million increase in the preventative maintenance budget, placing the proposed preventative maintenance budget at $16.5 million.
The district intends to balance these budgeting increases with the expected growth in taxable asset valuation, which is expected to add $8.8 million to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, according to the presentation.
A revenue trend chart in the presentation shows revenue has shifted from an equal balance of tuition revenue and tax revenue percentages in 2009 to 44 percent tax revenue and 24 percent tuition revenue in Fiscal Year 2018.
The presentation states that Senate Bill 2, which is on Gov. Greg Abbott’s agenda for the Texas legislative special session July 18, is a risk to the district’s budget because it would require voter approval of a property tax rate over 5 percent.
This rollback in property tax rate percentages would cost the district $3.5-$4.2 million a year according to the presentation.
Current legislation states that voters may petition for an election if a property tax rate exceeds 8 percent.
To compensate for the decrease in tuition revenue, the presentation proposes the district focus on out-of-district revenue by expanding online programs and international student enrollment.