Faced last year with a $1 million budget deficit it had to fill at the last minute, Clatsop Community College is trying to save up for a rainy day.

“What we’re attempting to do is ensure we have revenue that exceeds our expenses,” said JoAnn Zahn, vice president of finance and operations.

In an effort to create more revenue, the Clatsop Community College Board of Directors at its April 9 meeting hiked tuition another $2 per credit, effective summer term, bringing it to $96 per credit. At its May 10 meeting last year, the board raised tuition $4 to $94 per credit, with the option to let the president raise it another $2 if needed.

“Each $1 dollar increase in tuition brings in about $35,000 in revenue,” said President Larry Galizio. “Almost every community college in Oregon is raising tuition.”

Zahn said that with its budget for next fiscal year, starting July 1, the college would have an ending fund balance of $235,000, which it is trying to get up to $400,000 – or about 5 percent of its general fund – through expenditure cuts and creating new revenue.

“We’re definitely in a better place than we were the year before,” said Galizio about the current financial outlook, adding that many of the painful staff reductions and consolidations, tuition increases, property sales and other cuts of the past have helped get the college there.

Budget meetings planned

Three public budget committee meetings will take place at 6:30 p.m. May 7, 21 and 28. The proposed budget goes online May 8. The college’s Board of Directors has its final hearing during its regular meeting June 11, where it is scheduled to adopt the 2013-14 budget.

With the tuition increase, CCC is still $3 per credit less expensive than Oregon Coast Community College. Tillamook Bay Community College will increase its tuition from $85 to $90 a credit next academic year, and Portland Community College will increase from $82 to $88 per credit.

CCC receives about 10 percent of its support from the state, with property taxes and students’ tuition and fees making up much of the rest.

Galizio said the college has had to be creative in earning new revenue, running its own school cafe and leasing the Josie Peper building. Zahn said that the college has rented out its facilities for conferences and trainings in its main campus and working to fill every classroom and make the offerings as efficient as possible.

The college also created a budget advisory task force that includes administration, faculty, staff and a student representative.

“The task force is just an internal means to have a shared governance,” said Galizio.

He said that barring any unforeseen circumstances, and as long as the Oregon Legislature goes above the $428 million suggested by Gov. John Kitzhaber in his 2013-15 budget, the college’s financial outlook does look as if it could get better.

Advocates pack Capitol

On April 2, advocates for Oregon’s 17 community colleges packed the state Capitol, asking for the Oregon Legislature to give at least $453 million to the 2013-15 Community College Support Fund. The Oregon Community College Association?has previously said that about $460 million over the next two years is needed to keep services in community colleges at the same level.

“We packed the room,” said Galizio, who testified before the Legislature. “It was overflow.”

Similar lobbies for more state funding have popped up at the K-12 level with Strong Schools, Strong State.

Zahn and Galizio both said, though, that they’re using the governor’s figure until the state releases its next economic forecast May 16. Galizio said that if it is flat or shows positive growth, $453 million for the next two years is possible.

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