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Advocate editorial board opinion: Good stewardship keeps higher education institute going

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Aug. 30, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.


Our Victoria College is continuing to provide the community with excellent courses and vocational opportunities.

We were worried that state cuts to higher education would severely cripple the college, but through wise management and fiscal responsibility, the college will emerge stronger than ever. For that, we praise the college's administration and staff.

"By cutting appropriations for higher education so severely, the state continues to shift its responsibility for funding community colleges to local communities," said Victoria College President Tom Butler.

Almost $1 million in state cuts were made to the college's 2010-11 appropriations. Then a further $1.8 million cut per year was cut, adding up to a combined $4.6 million.

To allay the cuts, Victoria College first cut $168,279 from its operational budget. The institution will generate an additional $1.4 million in revenue from an increase in tuition and fees, according to Darin Kazmir, Victoria College director of marketing and communications.

Enrollment this fall is up 4.4 percent, and that should increase revenues, but the budget was figured on past enrollment figures.

Also, the college proposes to increase the tax rate about a third of a penny to shore up funding. The revenue from property tax is estimated to bring in $604,484 or about 33 percent of the total cut by the state.

"Our goal has been to enact a balanced approach to dealing with these cuts. Even after adjusting our budget by $1 million during the 2010-11 biennium, VC's immediate response to these further reductions in appropriations was to cut its own operating budget again. Students are sharing the responsibility by paying higher tuition and fees, and the board decided that a small tax increase would be necessary to balance the budget," Butler said.

The college managed to budget for a 2 percent increase in salaries for the 2011-12 year.

The last time a salary increase was implemented was in the 2009-10 fiscal year, and it, too, was a 2 percent raise, according to Kazmir.

"VC has consistently been - and will continue to be - a good steward of the community's resources," Butler said.

We agree, especially considering the extreme cuts to higher education by the state.

We applaud the college and praise its staff and administrators for keeping the college's well being intact.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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