The Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees met at the college’s campus in Spring Valley near Glenwood Springs Thursday, June 18, where it approved a $61 million operating budget for the 2015-16 academic year. This operating budget makes a few strategic adjustments to the 2014-15 budget, specifically it retires the overhead expenses originally set aside to launch the college’s five baccalaureate programs and provides resources to launch the college’s new teacher education program.

 In spite of rising operating costs due to inflation, the 2015-16 budget reflects no increase in tuition for in-district students or for any bachelor’s degrees. Earlier this year the board voted to maintain 2015-16 tuition at current levels for in-district and baccalaureate students. CMC’s in-district tuition is $57 per credit hour, the lowest tuition among public colleges and universities in Colorado.

 Increased operating expenditures within the budget include a 2.5 percent cost-of-living salary increase for employees and a 2 percent mid-year performance pay pool. The college will also absorb a 6 percent increase in the cost of health benefits.

 Also at the meeting, the trustees authorized President and CEO Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser to proceed with negotiating and initiating construction of a cell tower at the college’s Spring Valley campus, which has minimal cell coverage. Trustees had previously prioritized the installation of cell service at the campus given its paramount importance to the safety of CMC’s students.

 Trustees approved a new tuition rate that incentivizes adult students to continue on with college-level classes after completing ESL or GED programs at the college, allowing these adult students to qualify for in-state rates. They also approved that private nonprofit high schools within the college’s service area are eligible to participate in CMCs concurrent enrollment programs.