College budget decreases by $7 million

The college’s budget has dropped from $8 million to $1 million causing administration to analyze prior money spending decisions.

According to Vice President of Administrative Services Rolf Schleicher, the last few years there has been so much stimuli in the economy, and it’s been relatively good, but it’s getting more negative again.

“Our costs are going up, but enrollment, which is our revenue generation, isn’t changing much,” Schleicher said.

Student body growth is necessary to obtain new revenue. If the number of students enrolling at Pierce is not rising, neither is the capital, according to Schleicher.  

“We do get paid additional money for growth, but when we can’t grow, it means that everything is static in terms of new revenue. However, our costs continue to go up because people get raises, our utility bills go up and services go up,” Schleicher said.

According to Schleicher, contributing factors for why the $8 million reserve dwindled down to $1 million could be that some of the school’s equipment had to be replaced and staff needs to get paid.  

“All the electric cars that run around the school were getting old and really decrepit, so they went through and replaced a lot of them. We are talking about a lot of money,” District Academic Senate Representative Joe Perret said. “With things like that, it began to eat up the budget.”

He also said that the budget is impacted by the amount of new hired staff.

“The main thing that, in my opinion, we haven’t paid close enough attention to is the recurring expenses. You can buy many cars for one year, and that is your budget for that year, but when you hire people, you now have them forever because we are mostly a labor organization,” Perret said. “That will impact the budget for this year and the next and so on.”   

According to the Pierce College Historical Perspective Chart, during the 2015-2016 school year, there was about $65 million spent just on staff and about $9 million on equipment, supplies and electricity.

“Of the amount of money that we pay, most of it is for teachers and people who process admissions and financial aid and all those things,” Associate Vice President Bruce Rosky said.

The new budget doesn’t go into effect until July 2017, but there are already plans being made to stay above that required 5 percent.

“We are trying to market better. We are trying to make the classes more relevant to draw more students in, and on the expense side, we are looking at what areas we can save money on,” Schleicher said.

Although this is a concern, it was clarified by Perret that the future of Peirce is not at risk.

“The future is not at risk at all,” Perret said. “It’s just a bump along the road. We’ll get through it.”