The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees approved a proposed total budget request of $2,786,098 for the 2016-2017 fiscal year for Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties at its bimonthly meeting on Monday, March 21.
The meeting, held on the college’s Main Campus, began with an announcement from VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams on a new scholarship program, the VanGuarantee, to help eligible students overcome cost-related barriers to getting their college education. In announcing the VanGuarantee, the college president was joined by superintendents and members of the boards of education from the public school systems in the four-county area. (See separate story.)
VGCC’s budget requests, which include $2,680,138 in current expenses and $105,960 in capital outlay, now go to the board of county commissioners in each of the four counties served by VGCC.
Of the $2.6 million current expense county budget, $1,285,873 is being proposed for Vance County for the Main Campus and the nursing simulation lab at Maria Parham Medical Center; $799,473 for Granville County for Main Campus, South Campus and the Culinary Arts location in Oxford; $225,625 for Warren’s campus; and $369,168 for Franklin’s campus.
Of the $105,960 in capital outlay requests for facility improvement needs, funding by county is: Vance, $48,720; Granville, $31,240; Warren, $6,000; and Franklin, $20,000.
The proposed county budget represents a $289,730 increase over the 2015-2016 current expense budget and a $40,000 increase over the current year’s capital outlay.
Danny W. Wright, chair of the trustees’ Budget Committee, described the budget as “no frills, no fluff, bare bones, but realistic.”
At the Main Campus, the current expense hike covers state-mandated compensation and benefit increases, inflationary adjustments, and the funding of a full-time safety coordinator position to develop, maintain and coordinate environmental, health and safety programs for the college, said Steven Graham, VGCC vice president of finance and operations. At South Campus, the increase also covers the funding of a full-time police officer position dedicated to ensuring the safety of students and employees. The increase in capital outlay at the Main Campus is needed to complete a backlog of mid-sized repair projects needed to preserve and maintain the adequacy and use of existing facilities, Graham said.
County funding represents approximately 6 percent of the college’s overall budget.
The North Carolina Community College System has adopted three budget strategies to meet a statewide goal that 67 percent of working-aged North Carolinians will have education and training beyond high school by 2025, Dr. Williams informed the trustees.
The strategies are budget priorities of the NCCCS for the upcoming short session of the North Carolina General Assembly, she said.
An estimated 1.8 million workers with an associate degree or at least some college education will be needed by the year 2025, the N.C. Department of Commerce says. Less than 1.4 million members of the 2014 labor force had those credentials, meaning an additional 439,700 workers will need education and training to meet the demands of the next decade. Many of these jobs will require the skills taught by the state’s community colleges, Dr. Williams said.
For the short session, the state’s community colleges will be focusing on increasing student enrollment and completion, supporting recruitment and retention of quality faculty and staff, and addressing equipment needs, Dr. Williams said.
To increase enrollment and completion, community colleges will focus on improving student completion rates by investing in student support, increasing enrollment in key community college programs, and supporting the development of competency-based education.
The Investment Committee, co-chaired by Trustees L. Opie Frazier, Jr., and Donald C. Seifert, reported to the board that it has collaborated with the Investment Committee of the VGCC Endowment Fund Board of Directors to update the college’s investment policy statement.
The Trustees and the Endowment Board periodically review their joint investment policy and the financial advisers selected to manage the college and the Endowment investments.
Frazier and Seifert reported that the college is now preparing to issue a request for proposals for investment advisory services.
Connect NC Bond
In her report to the board, Dr. Williams issued a “thank you” to the trustees, the Student Government Association and all of the voters who passed the $2 billion Connect NC Public Improvement Bond on the March 15 primary ballot.
VGCC will receive $7.6 million to pay for improvements to facilities and, if needed, new construction. Dr. Williams said that the college administration is currently setting priorities for projects on all four campuses.
The trustees and the SGA both adopted resolutions in support of the statewide bond referendum.
In other action:
• The state found no deficiencies in a financial statement audit of VGCC for the year ended June 30, 2015, according to a report from State Auditor Beth A. Wood.
• The Building 10 construction project is on schedule for a June completion date, Graham reported in a Building Committee report to the board. The building, located across from the rest of Main Campus on Poplar Creek Road, is being renovated to house some of the college’s Public Services programs. Graham also said slightly more than $500,000 remains for two Main Campus projects — renovating the roof on Building 6 and making exterior masonry repairs.
• Trustee Sara C. Wester, chair of the Personnel Committee, reported on new employees, retirements and resignations and informed the board of plans for the annual evaluation of the president.
• Dr. Williams announced the following events: Scholarship Awards Ceremony, April 6, rescheduled from Feb. 24 because of inclement weather; Fourth Annual Dinner Theater, April 28-30; Endowment Fund Golf Tournament, May 3; and Graduation, May 13. She also announced the annual Board Retreat for the Trustees on Aug. 22.
The next meeting of the VGCC Board of Trustees will be held on Monday, May 16, at the Main Campus.