This college will receive largest expense budget cut for FY 18.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
The Alamo Community College District presidents explained how they plan to accommodate the budget changes at each college at the special board meeting and budget retreat July 18 at Killen Center.
Four of the Alamo Colleges will have their expense budgets cut in Fiscal Year 2018, and Northwest Vista College’s expense budget will increase $1 million in FY 2018.
Between FY 2017 and FY 2018, the budget for San Antonio College will decrease by $4 million, St. Philip’s College will decrease by $2.1 million, Palo Alto College will decrease by $1.3 million and Northeast Lakeview College will decrease by $1 million.
District 1 trustee Joe Alderete asked the college presidents to explain how they will accommodate the budget cuts and if the cuts will impact student services.
Mike Flores, Palo Alto College president, said he is cautiously optimistic about accommodating his college’s expense budget reduction.
In spite of the Palo Alto College website’s claim that “Palo Alto College has become a leader of collegiate aviation education in South Texas,” Flores said Palo Alto College has submitted a request to “sunset” their aviation program.
District 2 trustee Denver McClendon asked Flores how they intend to address students taking aviation courses.
Flores said the college has stopped accepting new students into the program but will continue teaching the students already enrolled in the program.
Flores said the college is seeking higher enrollment by focusing on their K-12 partnerships, saying they will be adding two more early college high schools to their current six.
Flores predicted an enrollment increase through the introduction of their healthcare administration, which he said was approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Robert Vela, president of this college, said the budget cuts at this college impact the college differently than others because the college requires high maintenance costs.
Vela said 40 percent of the budget is allocated to labor because this college has an “older workforce.”
Vela said the cuts must come from somewhere and decided operational costs will be cut by not filling positions in the next year.
In an interview with The Ranger after the budget retreat, Vela said this college will stop filling noncritical positions.
Vela said positions in programs that fill workforce needs in the city, such as nursing, and positions in student services, such as certified advisers, are considered critical.
Vela said noncritical positions will not be backfilled but are not cut, saying he considers noncritical positions to be in “hibernation” and may be filled in the future.
Lacy Hampton, vice president of college services at St. Philip’s College, simply said student services at the college will not be impacted by budget cuts.
Veronica Garcia, president of Northeast Lakeview College, said the college will accommodate the budget cuts by increasing enrollment.
Garcia said the college expects to see enrollment growth because the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approved the college to offer federal financial aid.
Garcia said Northeast Lakeview College also will reduce adjunct faculty costs to accommodate the budget cuts at the college.
Ric Baser, president of Northwest Vista College, said the expense budget for the college will go toward increasing faculty size.
Baser said the college missed their projection growth by 1 percent and does not expect to see growth over the next year outside of dual-credit enrollment.
Baser said the college is making an effort to increase their online courses by certifying 208 faculty members to teach online courses.
Alderete said he wanted it to be known that college cuts will not negatively impact student services at the colleges.