Monday, June 1, 2020

CVTC Budget Prepares to Implement Referendum Passage

Program enhancement, student services continue as priorities

Article Photo - CVTC Budget Prepares to Implement Referendum Passage

Overwhelming voter approval of the April 7 referendum is reflected in Chippewa Valley Technical College’s proposed 2020-21 budget. The CVTC District Board reviewed an initial draft of the budget and approved its publication at its Thursday, May 28 meeting. Final approval is scheduled for June 25.

“We are heartened by the strong public support of our efforts to invest in the future workforce needs of the region,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker. “Our budget will reflect that support and also continue our efforts to enhance and align programs to the needs of business and industry.”

Voters approved the $48.8 million referendum by a 62 to 38 percent margin. Projects are slated to be completed over three years. This year, plans call for the purchase of property adjacent to the River Falls Campus and the start of an automated fabrication lab addition at the Manufacturing Education Center. Design work on an addition and remodeling of the Emergency Services Education Center, as well as the new Transportation Education Center, will also begin. Most of the borrowing for the referendum projects will take place during the upcoming budget year.

The construction projects will have little impact on the College’s operating budget, which is projected for reduced expenditures in all funds. The only increases are in the capital projects and debt service funds, as a result of referendum approval. That accounts for an overall increase in proposed expenditures from $90.9 to $103.2 million.

The proposed property tax levy increases from $21.5 to $25.3 million. The annual projected tax rate of $92.20 per $100,000 of equalized property value would increase from the $81.97 rate in 2019. The yearly increase is less than the $13 per $100,000 of property value projected in the referendum proposal.

The budget allows for the expansion of high school academies through use of grant dollars and the start of three new programs in Graphic Design, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Agriculture Technician starting in the fall 2020 semester, according to information presented to the board.

“These programs will help meet more area workforce needs in business, healthcare and agriculture,” Barker said. “Our budgets are always about continuing to serve our constituents by offering the programs that respond to the needs of employers and student demand.”

Barker said the budget was prepared with the realization of the uncertainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal does not include pay increases, which will be reviewed in January based on state budget outcomes.

“We did not include an originally anticipated increase of the state budget allocation for technical colleges,” Barker said. “We anticipate that a budget repair bill will be coming this year, and we need to remain flexible.”

CVTC has received $2.6 million in CARES Act funding, with half allocated to help students impacted by the pandemic, and half to mitigate pandemic-related increased expenses of the College, according to Kirk Moist, vice president of finance and facilities. CVTC is showing some other positive signs on the revenue side, Moist added.

“In addition to CARES, the College has seen growth in outcomes-based funding over the past four years.”

Moist added that outcome-based funding measures success in 10 categories, such as job placement rates, degrees and certificates awarded in high-demand employment areas, and participation in dual enrollment programs. Also, CVTC was awarded the highest share of state grant dollars of any of the 16 state technical colleges.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. June 25, preceding the board meeting. A format for the hearing and meeting has not yet been determined.

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