CMC board hears of possible effects of ballot measures

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

LEADVILLE, Colo. – The Colorado Mountain College board of trustees, meeting in Leadville Monday, heard several different scenarios related to the potential impact if a series of tax- and debt-limiting ballot initiatives pass in November.

CMC Vice President of Finance Linda English, at the request of the board, advised trustees how passage of the measures could specifically affect the community college district’s budget, according to a CMC press release issued after the meeting.

“We don’t want to alarm anyone, but you’ve asked us to explain how these measures could affect our ability to meet the educational and training needs of our students and our communities,” English said of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, which appear on the Nov. 2 ballot in Colorado.

“It’s a very sobering picture,” she said. “We could be faced with cutting the college’s budget by nearly 50 percent.”

English outlined a number of different possible scenarios, which were calculated depending on which year is determined as the basis for tax cuts.

Under the best-case scenario, she said, potential impacts of the initiatives’ passage would delay maintenance and new building projects.

In the medium- and worst-case scenarios, the impacts would likely include program cuts and closures of some CMC sites, reduced services to students, benefit reductions for employees and layoffs, English said.

Students could also see tuition increases of as much as 60 percent, she said.

And the introduction of new programs, including a plan for CMC to offer a limited number of bachelor’s degrees, for which the college is now seeking accreditation, could be delayed.

Should the measures pass, English proposed that college administrators prioritize which specific buildings, programs and services would be affected in order to operate with as little as half the college’s current funding.

English also advised the trustees that, under the toughest scenarios, the economic impact on the communities served by the college would be substantial. She estimated that as much as $11 million in wages and benefits could be lost annually due to a loss of future construction projects and fewer employment opportunities.

In June, the CMC board was one of the first elected bodies in Colorado to pass a resolution opposing the three measures. Since then, numerous other local government boards, school boards, special districts and business associations have also issued statements opposing the measures.

CMC has campuses around the Western Slope, including facilities in Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.


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