DCC Board approves increased budget
By Jason Stuart
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The Dawson Community College Board of Trustees voted Monday night to adopt the college’s final budget for the 2014-15 academic year.
The adopted budget is for a total of $4.68 million, an increase of a little over a half a million over last year’s budget of $4.16 million.
Trustee Don Kettner, who seconded the motion by trustee Bob Stanhope to adopt the budget, praised DCC President Michael Simon and his team for it.
“I think it’s a great budget, and I commend you folks for weeding out the crap out of it and putting it together so that it’s a presentable budget that the board can understand,” Kettner said.
The budget passed by a vote of 6-1. Trustee Kathleen Fritsch cast the lone vote against it.
“(I voted against it) because travel, food, lodging, all those things went up and we’re doing one less sport, so (the athletics budget) should have been the same or been less,” Fritsch said. “It just doesn’t seem it should go up when one of them has been cut, because volleyball is a very expensive sport.”
However, according to the administration and other trustees, the reason the athletics budget is higher this year even with one less sport is because it’s a more accurate reflection of what the athletic programs actually spend during the course of a season as opposed to previous budgets submitted by the former administration.
“It appears to me that the fiscal 2014 actual is probably inadequate,” said trustee Alan Sevier. “We probably didn’t spend what we needed to in fiscal year 2014 in these areas. Even though we’ve dropped one sport, some of those other areas we just didn’t spend what we needed to to have a proper athletic team.”
DCC Executive Director of Business and Finance Kathleen Zander agreed that the previous year’s budget did not reflect a true accounting of what the school’s athletics programs spent over the course of the year.
“I don’t think (last year’s budget) was an accurate budget,” Zander said. “There were things that were paid that were not in the budget last year.”
Team lodging was one example Zander offered, noting that the previous budget did not account for the possibility of lodging expenses incurred as a result of teams making postseason tournaments.
DCC’s total athletics budget in the newly adopted budget is $564,237, an increase of just over $18,000 over what was spent last year.
Given the amount the school spends on athletics funding, administrators and the board are in the process of exploring ways to reduce the burden on the college’s general fund.
“I think the strategic discussion about how to handle the costs of operating our athletic programs is one that’s ongoing and this group definitely needs to be engaged with,” said board chairman Chad Knudson. “The board of trustees, along with the (DCC) Foundation board, I believe, need to work together to figure out how to shift the costs to the foundation, to some degree. But that’s not going to be solved in one budget year or two, we need to be working on that as we look strategically and try to get a better understanding in place with the foundation.”
Reach Jason Stuart at firstname.lastname@example.org.