CCC hit could be extreme

By Marlena Hartz : Freedom Newspapers

Clovis Community College could lose nearly $1 million in state funding in fiscal year 2007-2008, mostly as a result of a decrease in enrollment, which slipped about 10 percent the last two years, according to CCC officials.

The college could see several state-supplied coffers decline in fiscal year 2007-2008, according to projected calculations from the New Mexico Higher Education Department. They were described in a memorandum from CCC Vice President for Administration David Pacheco, released to CCC Board of Trustees during a Wednesday board meeting.

As result of the enrollment decline, regular formula funding could decline by $735,120, the memorandum reads. In addition, $71,900 in program funding and $168,815 building renewal and replacement funding will be cut from the 2007-2008 budget. These funds were allocated to the college on a non-recurring basis, officials said.

“(The loss in funding) is not as painful as we thought it might be. It is in line with what we had anticipated,” Pacheco told trustees Wednesday.
Officials anticipate the cuts will not affect instruction.

“We tried to curtail spending all during last year whenever possible. This is a significant amount (to lose), but between the annual (budget) carryover and our economizing, we think we can operate next year without loss in instruction,” Neibling said.

Three other institutions in the state — Western New Mexico University, New Mexico Junior College and Eastern New Mexico University at Ruidoso — are also in jeopardy of losing state funds because of enrollment decreases of 5 percent or more, according to Neibling. Those colleges will likely lodge a joint appeal with the Higher Education Department for a reprieve from cuts, although the ultimate decision on whether to grant a reprieve lies with the New Mexico Legislature, which convenes in January to address budgetary issues.

“We are hopeful that they will give us some mitigation, if not 100 percent,” Neibling said.

“We have had a very hard year on the economic side,” he added.
The president said uncertainty regarding the fate of Cannon Air Force Base contributed to the enrollment decline. The slip is also a result of high employment rates, which historically drive down enrollment at institutions of higher learning, Neibling said. Enrollment slips have occurred around the state, although to a lesser extent than at CCC, ENMU-Ruidoso and New Mexico Junior, officials said.

Meetings watch
Also at Wednesday’s CCC meeting:

•The 2006 summer graduation list was approved, with 29 associate’s degrees and one certificate conferred, according to Neibling.

• A contract for general counsel with Greig and Richards was renewed. The four-year contract is in year two, Neibling said.

• Seven handguns were donated to the Clovis Police Department. The handguns were purchased by the college for a handgun training course no longer offered at the college because of the poor condition of the building in which it was held.

•Information of two employee benefit plans was provided. An annuity plan and a flexible cafeteria plan are available to employees on a voluntary basis, according to CCC documents. The plans provide the college with an institutional saving of about $7,000 because the tax-sheltered payments are matched with FICA payments, the document reads.

• The contract for CCC President John Neibling was amended to reflect conditions of his hiring, according to CCC officials. His annual expense account of $20,000 is a budget line item, officials said. Neibling will be reimbursed by the college for “necessary representation activities,” the contract now reads, “including but not limited to entertainment, travel and gifts.”

•The Higher Learning Commission granted blanket approval for the delivery of associate’s degree programs through the Internet, CCC officials announced.

• The next meeting will be held Sept. 6.