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SMC adopts 2018-2019 balanced budget

Following a public hearing, the Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees on June 18 adopted the 2018-19 fiscal-year budgets. During the presentation to trustees, President Dr. David Mathews, along with Vice Presidents Dr. Joe Odenwald, Dr. David Fleming and Chief Business Officer Susan Coulston highlighted SMC’s unique, deliberate budget process that drives college objectives.

“In its depth and transparency, this budgeting process is unique in my experience,” said SMC’s VP of Student Services Joe Odenwald, who has worked at Mississippi College and Louisiana State University.  “As the relative newcomer here, I was impressed how the budget is developed as a tool to advance student success, and is built with a vast amount of input from across the campus. In my experience at other colleges, you were simply given a budget number and told not to exceed it.” 

Budget highlights for the upcoming 2018-2019 year include:

The General Fund Budget is $23,842,000, a 1.9-percent increase over last year.

The Student Housing Budget (revenue = expenses) is $2,459,150, which includes a $341,758 transfer to the Building and Site Fund for future maintenance and capital needs.

The Grants Budget (revenue = expenses) for 2018-2019 is $844,616.

Building and Site expenditures of $5,300,000 include $4,000,000 for the ongoing Nursing and Health Education Building renovation and expansion, $500,000 for annual capital expenditures (vehicles, IT equipment, etc.) and $700,000 total for Phase V and VI of Niles Campus renovations (as well as $100,000 for emergency repairs).

All totaled, General Fund, Auxiliary Funds, Restricted Funds and Building and Site Fund Expenditures for 2018-2019 amount to $33,097,766.

The projected Building and Site ending cash and investment balance is projected to be $3,575,492 and will be used for future building maintenance and future matching funds for partially state funded projects.

The proposed General Fund budget includes $80,000 in anticipated legal fees related to collective bargaining for the process of negotiating an initial contract with the newly formed faculty union.

Vice President Coulston noted that “the average base salary for full-time faculty for the nine-month academic year 2017-2018 was $57,113 which is virtually identical to the national average for community colleges. The 2018-19 budget includes a 2-percent increase to these salaries. Moreover, institutional administration expenditures are approximately 19 percent of projected total expenditures for 2018-2019. According to statewide data, SMC spends a lower percentage of our budget on administration than either of our neighboring community colleges. Plus, SMC invests in student success by also spending a higher percentage of its budget on Instruction than do neighboring colleges.”

According to Board Chairman Thomas F. Jerdon, “This balanced budget continues to invest in student success as our highest priority. Balancing the budget is challenging as SMC’s tax base ranks in the bottom 25 percent of community colleges statewide, which limits our tax revenue more than other colleges.  Nonetheless, SMC will always adopt balanced budgets that ensure student success and maximum taxpayer value.”