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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • PCC anticipates drop in state funding

  • In other action, trustees table rodeo beer garden issue.
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  • The squeeze is on the budget plans for Pratt Community College as they react to the news from Topeka that revenue numbers are down significantly from anticipated numbers.
    The PCC Board of Trustees learned Monday that the state is expecting $331 million less in revenues and that could result in a rescission in the amount of money the college receives from the state, said PCC President Michael Calvert.
    If the shortfall happens as predicted, it could mean as much as a 10 percent cut in the funds headed for PCC.
    The administration has decided to go ahead and plan for a five percent reduction in state funding that will result in a loss of $129,000 for the 2014-2015 budget, Calvert said.
    The biggest budget challenge facing the college is right now is the funding uncertainty out of Topeka.
    “It’s painful to plan a budget this way. But they (state) can only give you what they have,” Calvert said.
    The college is not along facing this shortfall. Cities, counties, colleges, universities, USDs and everyone that receives funding from the state are all taking a hit in these uncertain times, Calvert said. .
    The college is working to bring all elements of the nursing program up to the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing requirements for re-accreditation. The ACEN visited the campus a year and a half ago and found areas they wanted improved before the nursing program was considered for re-accreditation.
    One area the college has addressed was not enough professional development opportunities for adjunct faculty at other sites.
    The college has hired a staff person to fill that need and the number of training sessions has doubled.
    “We’re excited to have a quality person to meet that need,” Calvert said.
    Another area the college has addressed is a nursing staff resignation. The college has filled the position and is working hard to be ready for the next ACEN visit sometime between December and February 2015.
    The college has hired two consultants who will write a review and report on nursing program as well as conduct a mock visit to prepare the staff for the ACEN visit.
    The college is on track to meet all the ACEN concerns and have a successful re-accreditation process.
    “It’s looking good but a lot of hard work remains,” Calvert said.
    The administration continues to evaluate ways to bring more interest and funding for the PCC rodeo. To that end, the trustees have been considering a beer garden as part of the rodeo activities.
    The trustees want more information and have tabled the issue, so there will not be a beer garden at the next rodeo. The matter may be reviewed at future trustee meetings.
    Page 2 of 2 - As the start of the 2014-2015 school year approaches, the college is facing a downward trend in enrollment. The fall enrollment numbers are down three percent from last year at the some time but the 2013 fall enrollment was up three percent from 2012.
    This is a national trend in higher education with some colleges reporting double digit decreases in enrollment.
    A declining number of high school graduates and an improving economy are two key factors for the reducing in enrollment numbers, Calvert said.
    When an economy is on an upturn, more people are going back to work and not taking classes and that impacts college enrollments.
    While enrollment numbers are down, residence hall numbers are higher than normal with 93 percent capacity for the fall semester.
    The college is trying to figure out why enrollment is down but resident hall occupancy is down. The college is contacting all the students that enrolled last year to get information why this is happening.
    If students have secured their residence hall space but just haven’t enrolled yet is one possibility for the difference in the numbers, Calvert said.

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