Tough budget choices loom for BTC
IF YOU GO
What: Blackhawk Technical College Board public hearing on the proposed budget.
When: Wednesday, June 20. A time has not yet been set.
Where: Administrative Center on the central campus, 6004 S. County G, Janesville.
MONROE Shrinking state and federal funding and a shrinking enrollment will mean tough decisions for Blackhawk Technical College as it plans its 2012-13 budget.
Tuition will go up, as will taxes, according to a budget summary prepared for the board’s meeting Wednesday night at the Monroe campus.
Enrollment, which shot up during the economic downturn, is expected to decline 4 percent.
Tuition, set by the state technical college board, will rise 4.5 percent.
Taxes to support the operational budget would not change but debt service would increase for an overall 1.9 percent increase in the tax levy to $20.42 million.
Tax projections are calculated on an equalized basis. The actual tax effect on the assessed property values in any individual municipality are not yet known.
The Blackhawk Technical College Board imposes property taxes on a district that comprises most of Rock and Green counties. The taxes are one of the smaller amounts that make up a property owners’ entire tax bill, which also includes levies from school boards, county boards and municipal government.
The proposed budget would draw on district reserves. The fund balance would be depleted by $814,727 to pay for one-time initiatives and limited-duration expenses.
Computer equipment is “relatively up to date,” but instructional equipment “is lagging behind industry standards,” according to a budget memo, so the district would borrow $4.1 million for capital equipment and improvements.
“Increased capital investment in instructional equipment and technology is necessary over the next three years to ensure our students are learning on equipment and systems that are relevant to the work environment,” the memo states.
The memo stresses BTC’s mission in preparing workers to meet the needs of local business and industry.
The 2011-13 state budget cut statewide technical college aid by 30 percent and capped property tax levies for operational uses at 2010 levels, according to a budget summary.
Act 10, which required employees to contribute to their pensions, helped.
“But a significant budget gap remained,” according to the memo.
Operational revenue is expected to drop 3.3 percent to $30.68 million.
The administration decided against across-the-board cuts to balance the budget. That approach “simply promotes mediocrity,” according to the memo.
As previously announced, cuts will include suspension of the aircraft maintenance program, cutting enrollment in electrical power distribution and closing the central campus child care center.
In addition, BTC has decided to end Tech Knowledge College, a summer program for middle-schoolers, and to cut the position of coordinator for the high ropes course known as Ed-Venture.
Administrative and support positions were reduced, as well. Overall salary and benefits costs are projected to decline by $122,696.
A moratorium on out-of-state travel would be imposed, saving $71,720.