Yavapai College governing board members have approved an $82.7 million budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. That’s a reduction of more than $3.7 million from last year’s budget.
YC Vice President for Finance and Administration Clint Ewell said the significant reduction was a consequence of “having lower capital expenditures and lower debt payment.” He noted that no property tax increase will be requested other than for new construction.
Ewell suggested the college’s enrollment may increase in 2021, perhaps as much as 10%. “College enrollments tend to increase in step when unemployment is high,” he said.
Fiscal year 2019 enrollments amounted to roughly 3,475 full-time student equivalents. These numbers include the Prescott and Prescott Valley campuses and branches in the Verde Valley and Sedona. Precise numbers for 2020 will not be determined until summer sessions end.
Ewell said 2020 summer enrollments are up 30% over last year’s numbers.
He also said the college is developing a new master plan to identify community needs and student demand for programs. New programs may be introduced and programs with waning demand eliminated.
YC President Dr. Lisa Rhine said, “Yavapai College significantly influences the economic vitality of the local economy. Everyone at the institution appreciates how important our taxpayers are. At Yavapai College, we celebrate being able to help make the economy of Yavapai County more prosperous. We provide residents with an opportunity to improve their quality of life and standard of living. We stand ready to help our region’s economy recover from this pandemic.”
Ewell also said recruiting of student athletes for YC’s intercollegiate teams in men’s soccer and baseball and women’s volleyball and softball will see a shift. The $1.7 million to support these programs — salary, supplies, travel scholarships and other expenses — have in the past come from the general fund.
The plan is to shift some costs during the next five years to other sources. For example, the intent is to self-fund the scholarship portion though donations and sponsorships. Additionally, YC is committing to recruiting no less than 25% of its student athletes from within the county.
YC has 592 employees, including 212 faculty, 163 exempt staff and 217 non-exempt staff. At present, all are scheduled for a 3% salary increase. Ewell said the raise is necessary to remain competitive in the academic marketplace.
The May 12 board meeting was conducted through electronic streaming from the board members’ own locations instead of face-to-face at the Prescott campus. Future meetings will follow the same format until further notice because of concerns for health and safety of participants.
Following the board meeting, Deb McCasland, YC governing board chairwoman, said she was pleased with the budget deliberation and recommendation process.
“I speak only as a board member and not for the entire board, but our budget is reasonable. Increased private, government and YC Foundation funds are helping us reduce taxpayer costs,” she said.
Photo L to R: Deb McCasland, Dr. Lisa Rhine and Clint Ewell