NPC board adopts budget, sets tax levy

May 18, 2017 by Anonymous

HOLBROOK — Following truth in taxation and budget public hearings, the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board adopted the 2017-18 operating budget, the 2017-2020 capital budget and set the tax levy and rate during a special meeting preceding their regular monthly meeting, May 16.

The approved levy was increased by 2 percent, the maximum allowed by state law. For 2017-18 the maximum allowable levy was $14,834,954, with a corresponding tax rate of $1.8067 per $100 of net assessed valuation. For a home with an assessed valuation of $100,000, the primary property tax will increase $1.83 per year. At its March meeting, the board increased student tuition by $2 per credit hour, a 3 percent increase, to help share the burden of operational costs.

Fulfilling Northland Pioneer College’s obligation to provide higher educational services to all residents of Navajo County was a key factor for board members in approving the increased levy. With the impending closure of the Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City resulting in a possible $1.6 million revenue loss, college leaders are already looking at more ways to further streamline delivery of essential services and cut costs.

During the regular meeting, Chief Business Officer Maderia Ellison reviewed the various financial ratios used by the college’s accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, to assess the financial health of an institution. NPC’s Composite Financial Index (CFI), comprised of four individual financial ratios, provides a quick snapshot of overall financial health. NPC is well above the HLC’s thresholds and has been in a better position than most of the other nine Arizona community college districts for the past 10 years.

In reviewing the college’s financial situation three-quarters of the way through the budget year, Ellison noted property tax revenues were running about 6 to 7 percent behind, “primarily due to a timing issue of when second half tax payments are recorded.” She anticipates yearly revenues to “catch up” by the end of the fiscal year in June. Overall expenditures are below budgeted amounts, with capital maintenance projects ramping up with warmer weather and major planned technology upgrades getting underway at the end of the spring semester.

Three of those technology projects received board approval, with the renewal of the contract with Jenzabar, the college’s primary data management system; the purchase of data routers, the backbone of the college’s technology infrastructure, to replace end-of-lifecycle units; and the acquisition of additional network security tools to better protect NPC’s network and data systems.

The board accepted the annual Strategic Planning report. Mark Vest, vice president for Learning and Student Services, explained the focus has been in two main areas, improving student success and improving the user’s experience with technology. Utilizing Starfish software, interaction between faculty, students and advisers is resulting in quicker responses to students who may be in danger of failing. Program evaluations, another key component of student success, are dependent upon collection and evaluation of data. Vest noted that while an outside consultant is helping to inventory the college’s information needs, the position for a second data analyst to prepare that information remains open. The results of transportation and childcare surveys will be evaluated over the summer months.

On the technology side, the re-design of the college’s public website is underway, with improvements to the student/staff portal, MyNPC, to follow. A peer-based faculty training model is also scheduled to be rolled out in the fall.

The board also approved faculty emeritus status for Janice Cortina and Dana Jolly. Both are retiring this month. Cortina, a College and Career Preparation professor, has been with NPC for 10 of her over 30 years in education. Professor Jolly taught nursing students for the past 12 years at the Winslow campus. Elizabeth “Beth” Batson, registration clerk and veteran's certifying official, was also recognized with a Meritorious Service award for her 17 years of service.

Chief Operating Officer Jason Foutz gave an update on the RFP process to find a consultant to assist with the presidential search. Those proposals are due Friday, May 19, and Foutz said submissions usually come in at the last minute. The board will review those proposals and the list of community, faculty and staff volunteers at their June 20 regular meeting.

There are 43 recipients of NPC Friends and Family scholarships and grants in this year’s graduating class, noted BetsyAnn Wilson, executive director of the nonprofit alliance, during her monthly report to the board. Awards for the fall semester, including Fill the Gap and Leg Up, have been awarded to applicants throughout the district. Extra funds will be used to provide grants for pharmacy technicians students. “This one-semester course is not eligible for Pell Grants, and has a nearly $900 cost to enroll in the program,” added Wilson. Last year six pharmacy tech students benefited by these grants.

Funds for these scholarships come from various fundraisers. This year’s golf tournament on April 29, raised over $10,600 and was won by a team led by NPC board member James Matteson. NPC Friends and Family is hosting their first Disc Golf Tournament on August 12 at the Four Seasons course, a part of the Snowflake Municipal Golf Course. Registration and information is available at www.npc.edu/DiscGolf.

Wilson also reported on the success of the 20 recipients of $1,000 Summit Healthcare/Frontier Communication nursing scholarships. “12 have completed the nursing program and the remaining eight are on track to complete their associate degree in nursing (ADN) by May 2018,” notes Wilson.

Ryan Rademacher, outgoing president of the NPC Faculty Association, introduced in-coming president Pat Lopez, who will be giving the monthly report in the future. The faculty have submitted the names of three volunteers to serve on the presidential search committee.

The Human Resources report included the hiring of Psychology Professor Dr. Michael Collier; Gail Campbell as Associate Dean of Education and College and Career Preparation; College and Career Preparation Professor Cathleen Burson; Katharine Olsen as Community and Corporate Learning Specialist; and Dylan Dawson as Groundskeeper II. Several faculty positions have been filled in the week since the written report was submitted for the board meeting and will be listed in the June report.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, June 20, beginning at 10 a.m., in the Tiponi Community Center on the Holbrook – Painted Desert Campus, 2251 E. Navajo Blvd. Copies of the agenda are posted online at least 24 hours in advance. The board will not meet in July, unless an emergency situation arises.

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