BHC Budget Forums

June  10, 2014

      For the first time in years, Black Hawk College will start a new fiscal year with a budget deficit. Tonight and tomorrow night, college officials will host budget forums in advance of the new fiscal year starting on July lst.

      Vice president for finance, Leslie Anderson, says the new operating budget of 36 million dollars includes a deficit of about 500,000 dollars. And one reason is because state funding is still unknown.

       "We're a little concerned about the state income tax discussion currently going on and whether the tax rate will roll back and what that means to the state for how it will pay its bills. Whether paymetns will be further delayed."

       State funding makes up less than 20 per cent of the college's revenue, so Anderson says a much more serious problem is falling enrollment. Spring semester it was down about 10 per cent from the previous year. 

      "That's not surprising because of the counter-cyclical nature of community colleges - that when the economy is good and people are at work, then they're not attending community college. So it's not unexpected. In addition, the population is dwindling - the high school population is falling too so there are fewer students to enroll."

      The list of what she calls "major unknowns" also includes the impact of the Affordable Care Act, new contracts for faculty and staff, and Illinois pension reform.

      Tonight's budget forum will be held at Black Hawk College's community education center in Kewanee, and tomorrow night at the Moline campus - both begin at 5:30 pm.