The Pratt Community College Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing for their new budget at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 14.

By Gale Rose

The Pratt Community College 2017-2018 budget is ready for public hearing. Kent Adams, PCC vice president of finance and operations, presented the proposed budget to the PCC Board of Trustees at their regular monthly meeting July 17.

The public hearing is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 14 in the meeting room at the PCC Student Center. The public is invited to attend and make comment about the $19.5 million budget.

The proposed budget includes a slight decrease in mil levy of 0.241 mils. The proposed levy for the college is 39.4 mils. Currently, a single mil is worth $156,856, Adams said.

Part of that budget includes a $2 increase in tuition.

Enrollment for fall is down five percent from last year. Some of that is in the nursing program that suspended their ADN program for a year but the college is contacting students to determine what their status will be in the fall, said Lisa Miller, vice president of student/enrollment management.

County property valuation will take place later this year and will probably have in impact on the mil levy but whether it goes up or down is unknown until the valuation comes out.

The college gets about 23 percent of its revenue from the state. That amount is likely to stay the same as it was last year but that included a four percent cut from the year before and Adams said he doesn't expect that four percent to be reinstated.

In order to meet the budget, several open teaching positions were left open. Most of those positions were in the nursing department that is taking undergoing a restructuring after the department lost its accreditation.

The college expects to eventually bring the nursing program back to its previous level and that would mean hiring more nursing staff. The college will have to address that budget issue in the future.

"We'll have to figure out how to make it work again," Adams said.

Some building maintenance has been delayed to help meet the budget. The roof on the college was last replaced 24 years ago. The parking lot needs a lot of maintenance and both of those are very high ticket items.

For 2017-2018, the building maintenance budget is $197,500. The estimated average building maintenance budget for the next four years is $650,000 so revenue will continue to be an important issue for the college in coming years, Adams said.

Pratt Community College President Michael Calvert said he was pleased with the budget and said he appreciated the hard work Adams had done to get a workable budget. He hopes state funding will remain constant.

Even though some open positions were left open, a couple of other positions did fit in the budget so the college expects to get a new counseling position filled.

Constant funding helps the college maintain its ability to be competitive among the other Kansas community colleges.

The budget is designed for a three percent decrease in student population. Most of that drop is in the nursing program and was expected, Calvert said.

Currently, the Practical Nursing program at PCC is still in operation with about 25 students enrolled. The Advanced Degree in Nursing program will be suspended this year for faculty to have time to rework that part of the program. There were 11 ADN graduates in the spring before the program was suspended. Two of those students passed the NCLEX exam on the first try. The NCLEX pass rate had fallen to a point that PCC lost its accreditation a couple of years ago. The college greatly reduced its nursing student population and is working on getting the pass rates back up to an acceptable level and ultimately get the program back to full strength.

The Trustees closed out their 2016-2017 session and opened the 2017-2018 session. Board Chair Mike Koler stepped down as chair after two years. Trustee Jeff Shumway, previous vice chair, is the new Chair and Trustee Dwane DeWeese is the new Vice Chair.