Cuts have resulted in savings and new educational initiatives at Blackhawk Technical College, school President Tracy Pierner said.

Spending in the 2017-18 budget approved last week is down just over 1 percent, from $55.87 million last year to $55.28 million this year.

And although the college will collect more property taxes—up from $14.21 million last year to $14.83 million this year—the tax rate will drop because the overall value of property in the district is up. Last year, technical college-related taxes on a home valued at $100,000 were $121. This year, they will be $120.

“What we did last year laid the groundwork for this year,” Pierner said. “We started last year facing a $400,000 shortfall and ended up with a $700,000 surplus.”

Many of the cuts came at the beginning of last school year when a number of administrators were laid off.

That was from the operations portion of the budget.

“On the capital budget side, because we had reduced spending, we were able to reduce bonding (borrowing) for this year,” Pierner said.

The college also was able to pay an additional $250,000 toward debt. Debt and the interest on debt is usually paid for with the tax levy.

During the budget process, the college worked to get departments to work together on major equipment purchases. For example, the program that teaches power line workers will get a new truck for training, but that truck will be shared with the school’s new truck driving certificate program.

It has required a shift in culture and thinking, Pierner said.

The savings also meant the board was to start working on its strategic plan about six months in advance.

As part of that plan, new programs were added and existing programs were extended to the Monroe Campus.

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse