CMC trustees postpone decision to raise tuition |

CMC trustees postpone decision to raise tuition

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Colorado Mountain College board of trustees on Monday postponed until March a decision regarding possible increases in student tuition and fees for the 2012-13 school year.

In the meantime, the board would like to review more detailed information about a proposed 3 percent increase in CMC’s current $52 million operating budget for 2012-13.

Meeting at the new CMC central services building in Glenwood Springs, the board heard a preliminary budget presentation from Linda English, vice president for finance of the college. It was the board’s first detailed look at the budget, which will be formally adopted later this spring for the fiscal year beginning in July.

The special college district, which covers parts of nine western Colorado counties, is looking at adding two full-time faculty positions and one full-time staff position in the marketing department, English said.

A possible salary increase for adjunct and part-time faculty and staff is also being explored. Increases in insurance, utilities and service contracts for information technology are anticipated for the coming year, as well, English said.

On the table for consideration Monday were a range of options to increase tuition, from 3.8 percent to 5.6 percent for in-district students, 6.7 percent for in-state students living outside CMC boundaries, and 7 percent for out-of-state students.

This “modest” tuition increase, in English’s words, also would help offset projected cuts in state funding for CMC of between $270,000 and $300,000 for next year, she said.

“It’s easy to fall behind, and if we don’t do a small increase now we could be looking at a much larger tuition increase for 2013-14,” she said.

But trustees, especially some of the new trustees elected last fall, were hesitant to increase tuition without learning more about the budget proposal for next year and efforts to control spending in the past.

“I’d like to see some of the budget numbers broken out before I can vote on this,” Trustee Kathy Goudy, of Carbondale, said of the tuition proposal. “I’d rather look at where we can cut some of the administrative costs.”

Trustee Ken Brenner, of Routt County, agreed.

“I think there’s a role for some shared hardship here,” Brenner said. “In order to look taxpayers in the eye, I think we have to show that we looked at administration and operations for some savings opportunities.

“I want to make sure that we as a board have looked at everything.”

The board is considering a proposal to increase tuition for lower-division classes by $2 to $3 per credit hour (from $53 currently) for in-district students, by $6 for in-state (from $89 currently) and by $20 for out-of-state students (from $279).

Even with the increase, in-district CMC students still would continue to have the most affordable tuition in the state, CMC President Stan Jensen pointed out.

“Our increases have not been like the 10 to 20 percent increases at other colleges and universities,” Jensen said.

The board postponed a decision on the tuition proposal until its March 12 meeting, scheduled to take place at the Rifle campus.

In other business at Monday’s meeting:

• The board approved, by a 3-1 vote, spending $400,000 for one-time bonuses for part-time staff and adjunct faculty for the current budget year. No collegewide salary increase was budgeted for employees for 2011-12, although a 1 percent salary increase was given the previous year.

Because actual revenues for the current year are higher than what was budgeted, the board granted a bonus to full-time employees at its December meeting.

• The board agreed on a 6-0 vote to grant in-district tuition for active-duty military, veterans and their dependents.

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