By Everett Robinson
Northland Pioneer College
The calendar may only say November, but the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board approved the initial steps in the budget preparation process during its regular monthly meeting Nov. 19 in Holbrook.
Key to that process is a budget calendar, outlining when various segments of the budget will be completed prior to formal public hearings and adoption at the May 21, 2013, meeting. The board adopted the calendar, a month earlier than in previous years, to allow additional time for board review prior to adoption. Staff will continue to tie expenditures to the 2013-16 Strategic Plan, which also received an initial review by the board.
Anticipating college revenue will remain “flat,” NPC Administrative Services Vice President Blaine Hatch reviewed the historical pattern for both state aid and local property taxes, and the projected shortfall in state revenue once a temporary sales tax ends in June 2013. Voters rejected continuing the extra one-cent sales tax levy.
Hatch emphasized the need for NPC, one of only three districts in the state eligible for state equalization aid, “to continue to do the most we can at the local level” to justify the need to the legislature and governor’s office for equalization aid. “If we are not levying the maximum (property tax) levy, then the legislature could question the need for equalization aid, which now accounts for more than three-fourths of the state aid we re-ceive,” commented Hatch.
Since the Arizona Constitution requires education to be at the lowest possible cost, and NPC serves two of the lowest income counties in the state, shifting the burden to students through higher tuition is not an option, Hatch noted.
During the first review of the proposed 2013-16 Strategic Plan, Eric Bishop, co-chair of the Strategic Plan-ning and Accreditation Steering Committee, and Information Services director, explained how the various pil-lars of the plan had been adjusted to conform to new accreditation requirements. He pointed out that in Pillar 4, for example, the Human Resources Office would be interacting more with students to improve their success. Also in Pillar 6, many of the facility improvement projects are being implemented.
The draft plan is available for staff and public review on the college’s website, www.npc.edu/npc-strategic-plan. Formal adoption of the plan is expected at the board’s Dec. 18 regular meeting.
Eagar Fire Chief Howard Carlson was honored as the Outstanding NPC Alumnus for fall 2012. He re-ceived his Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Science from NPC in 1981, and will be retiring in 2013 after a 40+-year fire service career with the U.S. Forest Service and the Springerville and Eagar fire depart-ments.
During reports to the board, Hatch presented the monthly financial report, which indicated a planned use of reserve funds due to cash flow and major ongoing construction projects. Other expenditures were below pro-jected levels for being a quarter of the way through the fiscal year.
Classified and Administrative Support Organization President Ina Sommers reported on the distribution of textbook scholarships to employees, holiday See’s Candy sales and the group’s upcoming retreat on Nov. 30 at the restored Hubbell Trading Post in Winslow.
Faculty Association President Kenny Keith indicated various shared governance committees were at work, including the Employee Relations and Compensation teams. He introduced new Early Childhood instructor Marina Beerli, who has previously taught in New Hampshire, New Mexico and New Zealand.
Student Government Association President Wendy Shepard reported on painting pumpkins, donated by Willis Farms, which were then distributed to nursing homes in Winslow and Show Low. The Outdoor Club’s outing to Walnut Canyon was canceled due to inclement weather, but other activities are being planned. SGA is also conducting food drives, with collected items going to charities within the local community.
SGA will be assisting with the NPC float in the Show Low Shines Christmas Parade on Dec. 1. Welding students in both Show Low and Holbrook are constructing the floats for their respective community’s parades, both on Dec. 1.
During board reports, Chairman Bill Jeffers mentioned the NPC Rodeo Club and its booster club would be disbanding in the future, probably after the spring semester.
The next regular meeting of the governing board will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18, in the Tiponi Community Center Conference Room on the Holbrook-Painted Desert Campus, 2251 E. Navajo Blvd.
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By Everett Robinson