A board member questions relevance of projected enrollment.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
The board of trustees unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2018 budget and discussed budget risks for the colleges and Alamo Community College District at the special board meeting and budget retreat July 18 at Killen Center.
Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the district’s “frugal” use of funds prevented them from using $5 million from the fund balance.
The district added $5 million from the fund balance to the FY 17 budget but opted not to use the fund balance in the FY 18 budget.
Snyder said 25 percent of the FY 2017 fund balance, which comes to $700,000, will be divided between the colleges and vice chancellor departments.
The FY 2018 budget accounted for tuition loss and tuition exemption increases from the summer momentum plan, which Snyder predicted will increase in summer 2018 because students will have known about the incentive for a year.
District 9 trustee Jim Rindfuss questioned the impact the summer momentum plan had on tuition revenue.
Snyder said 14,000 Alamo College District students qualified, and 52.65 of students who qualified for the summer momentum plan took advantage of the incentive; she said a total of $3.1 million free classes were awarded because of the incentive plan.
Snyder said there was an expectation that the incentive would increase the student retention rate between spring and fall semesters.
In the budget presentation, Snyder said the projected unduplicated credit and non-credit enrollment for FY 2017 is 82,805, which was 82,875 in FY 2015, and said the district projects to have 120,979 in FY 2030 because of the estimated 1 million population growth in this city.
District 6 trustee Gene Sprague questioned the relevance of the chart estimating the unduplicated enrollment growth.
“If you look at the last three years, obviously we’ve been the same,” Sprague said. “There’s a nationwide thing saying that the number of college students is going to decrease fairly dramatically over the next 20 years. So, I understand context to the bond we had, but I’m not sure this is a useful thing for everybody to see.”
Snyder said Sprague’s point was fair, but she presented the information because it was the same information presented during the Capital Improvement Plan presentations; Snyder said she wanted to show they use the same data for budgeting that is used for the CIP.
Snyder said she was glad the annual unduplicated count was added, but she would work on the presentation.
Snyder presented concerns the board had about legislation on Gov. Greg Abbott’s agenda for the current Texas legislative special session, including Senate Bill 2.
Senate Bill 2 requires governing bodies and taxing entities to hold an election to approve a tax rate higher than 5 percent; the district currently has a tax rate of 6 percent.
Current legislation states that the voting public may petition for a vote to approve a tax rate over 8 percent.
Snyder said the only “lever” the district could move if Senate Bill 2 passes is tuition, saying the district would need to raise tuition 2 percent if the bill passes.