HLC Self Study
Chapter 5 Graphic

Meeting Financial Planning Goals

Estrella Mountain Community College has a history of achieving its financial planning goals. Since 2005-2006, the College’s Budget Development Steering Team (BDST) has continued to collaboratively provide funding support for budget proposals submitted by the academic, occupational, student services, and administrative units. This includes new personnel, funding to support new initiatives (e.g., Red Hat Academy, Wimba live classroom and Smarthinking) and identified funds to support the new faculty-driven assessment model.

Budget Development

The Estrella Mountain Community College Budget Development Process represents a cross-section of employees working together to address budgetary issues and strengthen processes. In the last five years, the Budget Development Steering Team has undergone several reorganizations in order to more effectively serve College needs.

Prior to academic year 2005-2006, each division of the College submitted its capital, noncapital and personnel requests directly to the College’s Senior Leadership, who made their decisions based upon college priorities.

The Budget Development Steering Team was then created during the 2005-2006 academic year in order to enhance the communication among the various divisions, establish a strong link to the strategic directions and make the funding of divisional requests more transparent. Membership of BDST consisted of 21 people, representing various areas of the College. Each division or area of the College was allowed to submit as many proposals as required to meet the needs of the division or area. A rubric was created by BDST to rank proposals. The majority of points were awarded to budget requests that brought significant increases in Full-Time Student Enrollment for the College.

In the 2007-2008 academic year, in order to stream-line the budget development process, the number of budget requests submitted annually was limited to 43. BDST membership was reduced from 21 to 12, with each employee group being represented. Currently, eight representative voting members of BDST are as follows:

  • Vice President
  • Dean
  • Director
  • Division Chair
  • SAAC Coordinator
  • Faculty Senate President
  • Management, Administration and Technology President
  • Professional Staff Association President

The three non-voting members include the College President, the Dean of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness and the Vice President of Administrative Services.

During this timeframe, the College additionally began to shift its focus from growth to learning. College budget proposals are now ranked according to the rubric featured in Figure 35. This rubric links to the Learning College paradigm and the College’s strategic goals. A ranked list is first presented to Leadership Council. Then the BDST recommendations are forwarded to the Senior Leadership of the College for action.

Figure 35

Budget Cuts

Due to the dramatic downturn in economic conditions, the College has had multiple budget cuts since 2008-2009, totaling $1.5 million. In addition, funding from the District for operational commitments of new college facilities was trimmed from $15 per square foot to $10 per square foot, making it difficult to maintain the facilities at the same level as before. Despite these cuts, Estrella Mountain’s Financial Resource Plan enables the provision of a stable college learning environment by minimizing the impact on students. 

During spring 2011, the Arizona Governor made public a proposed 2011-2012 State budget. The State budget included funding cuts to the Maricopa County Community College District of 85 percent, reducing the District’s State allocation from $45.3 million to $6.9 million. This reduction of $38.4 million represents approximately a 6 percent cut in the District’s General Operating Fund. For 2011-2012, State Aid represents only 1 percent of total revenues sources for the District. Overall, reductions in State Aid since 2007-2008 total $61.7 million (including capital), or 90 percent.  

In response to the State cuts, each Maricopa County Community College was directed to cut its permanent operating budget proportionally. Overall, the District plans to cut $15 million from the total adopted budget. These budget cuts are scheduled to be implemented in FY2012-2013, pending further legislative budget reductions.

Estrella Mountain was directed to identify cuts from the permanent operating budget (Fund 1), totaling $778,225. The SouthWest Skill Center identified budget cuts totaling $47,510.  After careful consideration and review, the following college areas were identified for budget reductions in FY2012-2013.

Figure 36

Figure 37

The primary goals guiding the decisions made by Senior Leadership regarding budget reductions were to avoid layoffs of college personnel, minimize impact on instruction and student support services and support enrollment growth.