The Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees met at the college’s campus in Spring Valley near Glenwood Springs on Friday, May 20, where they approved the annual Cooperation and Services Agreement between the college and the CMC Foundation, the college’s 501(c)(3) fundraising arm.

During the annual joint meeting between the elected CMC Board of Trustees and appointed CMC Foundation Board, both groups heard that over the past 10 years, the CMC Foundation has leveraged funds advanced from the college at a rate of nearly four to one. Funds raised through the foundation support scholarships for students, academic programs and capital projects including, over the past decade, new classroom buildings in Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge, Leadville, Rifle and Edwards.

During the trustees’ meeting the board held the first public hearing of the proposed budget for 2016-17, which has total operating expenditures of $62.6 million, a 2.65 percent increase over last year’s budget of $61 million. Revenues for the year are projected to be $1.8 million lower than 2015-16, largely because of 50 percent declines in oil and gas property taxes.

To help close this gap, the proposed budget reflects a reduction in operational budgets, savings through changes to employee benefits and reduced legal expenses, and increases in minimum class size. The proposed budget includes a cost-of-living increase for employees of 2.5 percent. Health insurance costs are anticipated to increase at mid-year, but the college won’t receive the exact rates from its insurance provider until the fall.

Among the initiatives from the college’s strategic plan priorities included in the proposed budget are: student support programs such as the continuation of the $1,000 President’s Scholarship offered to all graduating high school seniors in the CMC district and an initiative to increase GED and ESL completions; restructure of the college’s academic affairs division; technology upgrades; implementation of the college’s sustainability plan; a strategic enrollment plan integrated with the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion plan; and an internal leadership development program – CMC-LIFT (Leading Into the Future Together).

The draft budget is available for viewing on the college’s website, and at all of the campus’s 11 campuses and learning locations, in addition to the central administrative offices in downtown Glenwood Springs.

In other action at the meeting, on the consent agenda the CMC Board of Trustees unanimously approved or accepted quarterly financial reports, course fees for three new classes (two ski and snowboard courses plus a culinary arts course), and the 2016-17 budget for the board of trustees (which is separate from the college’s operating budget). Next year’s board’s budget of $64,620 is the same as it has been for several years.

Trustees also heard an update from a GED/ESL budget taskforce, which has been working on suggestions to lower program costs, innovate and improve program efficiencies, and adjust fees as necessary so that the programs meet the 2016-17 budgeted projections and are sustainable long term. Course fees for these programs are still to be determined for the fall semester, after the taskforce and college administration continue their work toward making that part of the budget balance.