Colorado Mountain College adopts 2015-16 budget | SteamboatToday.com

Colorado Mountain College adopts 2015-16 budget

Instructor Rebecca Potter leads a discussion in her Ethnic Literature course at the Colorado Mountain College campus in Steamboat Springs on Monday afternoon.

— Colorado Mountain College administrators said Monday that strong fiscal management of the school has allowed the CMC board to adopt a stable budget for the upcoming year.

The $61 million 2015-16 budget includes a 2.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for employees, allows the school to cover rising employee insurance costs and keeps tuition flat for in-district students while including minimal increases to out-of-district students and more moderate increases for out-of-state students.

Revenues to the college are increasing for the year, with state funding to colleges up 11 percent and property tax revenue also forecast to increase, according to Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff Matt Gianneschi and Vice President of Fiscal Affairs Linda English.

The revenue increases have helped keep CMC the most affordable public college in Colorado for in-state students and among the most affordable for out-of-state students.

"Revenues into the college were improving this year, and as public stewards, our job is not to make a profit," Gianneschi said.

While the 11 percent increase from the state is significant, it represents only a small portion, about 10 percent, of the college's budget, English said.

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"And it's only just getting us back to the realm of what the state funded back in the (20)06-07 time frame," she said.

As with all colleges, personnel costs represent one of the largest parts of the budget. In addition to the cost-of-living increase, employees will also be eligible for a performance-based bonus, which averages as a 2 percent increase during the school year.

Health care costs are forecast to increase 6 percent during the year, which will be absorbed by CMC.

Gianneschi lauded CMC's strong fiscal health and said that the school is on solid financial footing for the foreseeable future, not just for the upcoming school year.

"The college has positioned itself very effectively from a financial standpoint," he said. “The finances have been handled very well."

Another change in the upcoming year for CMC is the formal addition of baccalaureate programs in elementary education and a bachelor of applied science degree.

The BAS degree will be offered in Steamboat and allow students in the ski and snowboard business program to obtain a four-year degree, rather than stopping after the two-year associate of applied science program, Gianneschi said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow