A combination of state budget cuts, and limited revenue sources has prompted Coconino Community College’s President Dr. Leah L. Bornstein to enlist community leaders to examine its finances and make recommendations to address the College future financial plans.
The Citizens’ Review Panel has been studying CCC’s finances in a series of meetings to fully understand the College’s financial situation. Beginning in 2008, the College identified more than 100 cost-savings initiatives designed to slash nearly $4 million from its budget. CCC reduced staff by 15 percent, eliminated some certificate and degree programs, implemented energy saving initiatives, and most recently closing the Williams campus. At the same time, the College was forced to raise student tuition to protect essential programs and services or students.
“The measures have so far helped us survive the recession and state aid cuts, but are just not sustainable long term,” said Jami Van Ess, CCC’s Vice President for Business and Administrative Services. “Deferring maintenance of buildings and cutting back on staff and faculty eventually takes its toll.”
The options the panel considered include: future raising tuition and eliminating more programs. Ultimately, the Panel examined several options for asking voters for a seven-year property tax override, the College’s only other revenue option beyond further raising tuition, which is already the highest in the state.
After carefully considering all of the options, the Citizens’ Review Panel presented its preliminary recommendations at a series of Community Open Houses. The purpose of the Open House events was to gather input from Coconino County residents on the recommendations and the College’s situation.
After this week’s Open House events, the panel will develop its final recommendation for Dr. Bornstein and will present that recommendation at the May 28 CCC District Governing Board meeting. The District Governing Board’s May meeting is at 5 p.m. at the CCC Lone Tree campus. The District Governing Board will review and discuss the recommendations at its May meeting.
All District Governing Board meetings are open to the public and the public is encouraged to attend. There is an opportunity for public comment at the beginning of each meeting.
“The panel is doing an outstanding job, carefully considering our situation, there was an excellent dialogue and lots of tough, probing questions. The Panel’s Preliminary Recommendations are based on careful consideration of all the facts,” Bornstein said.
Members of the Citizens’ Review Panel include:
Chris Bavasi, Former Flagstaff Unified School District Board Member.
Richard Bowen, Director of Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona (ECoNA).
Coral Evans, Flagstaff City Council member.
Brynn Johns, O&M Manager of Cost Services at Salt River Project-Navajo Generation Station, Page/Lake Powell.
Mandy Metzger, Coconino County Board of Supervisor for District 4.
Molly Munger, former Community Relations Director for Northern Arizona University.
Bill Pribil, Coconino County Sheriff.
Eva Putzova, Director of Institutional Research/Policy Analyst for NAU.
Leroy Shingoitewa, Hopi Tribe Chairman.
Russ Yelton, President/Chief Executive Officer of Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (NACET).