Smaller budget proposed for JCCC; tuition would increase

Belt tightening at the Johnson County Community College began this week with a recommendation to reduce next year’s budget by $8.7 million.

Most of those dollars comes from a reduction of more than $7 million in building maintenance expenditures.

Kansas universities have reported a severe building maintenance problem after years of inadequate funding by the Legislature.

Terry Calaway, the president of the Overland Park-based community college, was asked if his institution was beginning on the same path.

Calaway said there would be adequate dollars for maintenance in the budget he proposed because the college would be receiving more than $5 million from the federal economic stimulus package for higher education.

Those dollars were not reflected in the budget he presented Wednesday to the college board of trustees.

Don Perkins, the college’s budget director, told the board that the $134.3 million budget proposal assumes a 4 percent reduction of property taxes and a $4 increase in credit-hour tuition for students living in Kansas. The budget also assumed a 13 percent reduction in state dollars. The college’s fiscal year begins July 1.

The cost for 30 credit hours of classes would increase by $120 for Kansas students under the recommendation.

The good news for taxpayers concerns the college’s tax levy, which would not increase under the proposal. It currently stands at $8.77 on each $1,000 of assessed valuation.

If trustees approve the levy recommendation, which is expected, the tax bill for the college will drop by $2 for an average house. The average appraised value on residential property last year was $243,000. That declined to $241,000 this year.

“Everybody on this board and administration has been sensitive to the taxpayers this year,” said Lyn Mitchelson, a trustee.

Other budget highlights:

Enrollment is estimated to grow by 3 percent next year.No person currently employed by the college will be laid off. However, 30 full-time positions either vacant or scheduled to become vacant will not be filled with new hires. Those are not faculty positions. The college will not fill 50 current part-time positions.The budget will use $5 million of the college’s cash reserve.Tuition will make up 20 percent of the college’s revenue for next year compared to 17 percent this year.Next year’s budget represents a 6 percent reduction from this year’s spending.