It was a bigger budget but a smaller mill levy as the Pratt Community College Board of Trustees passed the 2008-2009 PCC budget Monday night at their regular monthly meeting.

It was a bigger budget but a smaller mill levy as the Pratt Community College Board of Trustees passed the 2008-2009 PCC budget Monday night at their regular monthly meeting. 

The $16.3 million budget was $2.9 million more than the previous 2007-2008 budget but with an increase in assessed value and an increase in tuition allowed the mill levy to drop 0.47 of a mill from 40.17 mills to 39.70 mills.

The bulk of income influencing the mill levy decrease was in assessed valuation. It accounted for about 90 percent of the additional income to the college while an increase in tuition, $1 per credit hour for in-state and $2 for out-of-state students, accounted for about 10 percent of the increase in income, said Kent Adams PCC vice president of finance and operations.

The Kansas Board of Regents asked colleges to develop a plan to cover possible funding cuts from the state. Each college was asked to prepare a plan to cut their budget two percent for 2008-2009 and an additional five percent cut for 2009-2010, Adams said.  The PCC proposed cuts for 2008-2009 are: utility conservation $18,000; hold positions open for 30 days $27,000; reduce supplies $5,000; reduce travel by 3.5 percent $7,500 for a total of $57,500 in cuts.

The 2009-2010 proposed cuts are: reduce new program marketing increases $50,000; hold positions open 60 days $27,000; eliminate golf program $26,000; reduce staffing $40,000 for a total of $143,700 in cuts. The two years together would result in $201,300 in cuts over a two-year period.

These are just proposed cuts if the anticipated state funding is reduced as predicted. The two percent budget cuts for 2008-2009 will probably be a reality, said PCC President William Wojciechowski.

He anticipates the state will hold some payments to colleges in reserve and that will prompt the cuts. Whether the five percent cuts will be necessary is unknown because it’s too far in the future, Wojciechowski said.

Trustee Ed Barrett reminded the Trustees and administration that the board doesn’t have to make the cuts if they have the money on hand to cover the decrease in funding from the state.

The Trustees approved a mid-range plan as a guidebook to direct the college from 2008 to 2013.

The strategies in the plan were developed with input from employees. It is a working document and will be updated each year, Wojciechowski said.

The administration will report to the Trustees on a quarterly basis to let them know how the plan is working. Some of the ideas in the plan may not work and have to be eliminated or changed. Barrett said he expects some percent of the plan will change within the first year.

The plan incorporates the best of what was working at PCC and some new ideas for improvements. To make this plan work everyone will have to take a part.

“It’s our folks that are going to have to deliver,” Wojciechowski said.

While the success of the mid-range plan is unknown, the results of the college to improve student scores on Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency and WorkKeys evaluations have succeeded to a high degree.

The CAAP scores measure basic skills of community college graduates. The scores are compared with students across the nation. The PCC students scored at or above the national average in all four areas of writing skills, mathematics, reading and critical thinking, said Jim Stratford, vice president for instruction.

“This is truly an outstanding accomplishment,”Stratford said. “That is our goal. We seek to be above the average in all areas and we achieved that.”

Students also scored high in WorkKeys tests.

Businesses and industries across the county have established entry-level standards for new employees.

WorkKeys tests assess students in applied mathematics, locating information, reading for information and writing assessment to meet those entry-level standards.

At PCC 90 percent of technical graduates or more achieved those levels, Stratford said. “The institution has done exceptionally well to prepare students for the work place,” Stratford said.

This success is the result of a college wide effort in all departments. There is an institutional focus on student learning to achieve these scores, Stratford said.