BTC board OKs $67.5 million budget, Eckert contract
TOWN OF ROCK — The Blackhawk Technical College District Board approved a $67.5 million budget and a new three-year contract for college president Tom Eckert without debate Thursday.
The board approved the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget, which contains an 11.8 percent increase in spending, most of which will go toward the college's remodeling of a new instructional space. The new budget will be effective July 1.
The District Board has already leased the 18,819-square foot industrial building at 15 N. Plumb Street in Milton as the future home for its Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. The center, which is set to open in 2014, will include training labs for computer-numerical controlled and industrial maintenance technician programs.
These programs are currently one-year diploma programs, but the additional space means the college can add an option for a second-year specialization for students.
Vice President for Finance and Operations Renea Ranguette said the budget reflects declining support for the state's 16 technical colleges and is also owed in part to decreased enrollment from peak levels in 2009-10, when around 2,900 students were enrolled.
Board members said the Milton campus means the college will remain a significant engine for creating skilled jobs in the area and the state.
“We're bringing high-quality and high-paying jobs to the community,” said Victor Gonzalez, a board member. “The dollars and the graduates stay here.”
The board also unanimously approved a new three-year contract for Eckert.
Board vice chair Barbara Barrington said the contract includes a 2 percent salary increase for the first year of the contract. Eckert also will have to pay 50 percent of the total contribution to the Wisconsin Retirement System under the terms of the new contract.
The contract was drafted after a “market analysis” of the state's other technical colleges, Barrington said.
She added that the three-year contract allows for stability in the college's leadership team heading into such major projects as the Milton expansion.
“We recognized the need for a salary adjustment,” she said.
The board will have to revisit the president's salary for the remaining two years of the contract down the road.