At its Nov. 3 meeting, the Board of Trustees celebrated the College’s progress on capital construction projects, approved the College’s Financial Accountability Plan, and braced itself for the budget challenges that lay ahead based on the results of mid-term elections and the latest budget proposal from Gov. Bill Ritter.
During the meeting, a presentation from Christine Staberg of Capstone Group, LLC highlighted major happenings of the previous day.
Staberg reported that Gov. Ritter’s $20.6 billion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2011-12, released during the rush of midterm elections on Nov. 2, included “additional reductions of over $700 million, just short of the $1.1 billion they are projecting needing to reduce for next year.”
The budget offered “no surprises for higher education,” Staberg said, adding the $89 million in ARRA (stimulus) funds that were helping to prop up higher education funding are out of that budget. But the $555 million base in general fund monies that we were expecting remain in that budget.
“It certainly doesn’t mean that it’s not at risk and that everything in that budget won’t change, because it will,” she said.
This base keeps the College at an “essentially 05-06 level of funding,” said President Stephen Jordan.
Financial Accountability Plan receives praise en route to the CCHE
Vice President for Administration, Finance and Facilities Natalie Lutes updated the board on feedback she, Jordan and Financial Aid Director Cindy Hejl had received on the Financial Accountability Plan (FAP) during a Nov. 1 meeting with a subcommittee of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE).
In responding to the commissioners’ questions, Lutes said it was important to convey that the “initiatives and strategic vision were set in place four or five years ago” by the BOT and Jordan around retention, first-year programs and budget management for a five-year model.
Jordan said the CCHE subcommittee planned to “recommend the five-year plan for Metro State. They were exceptionally complimentary on the thought that went into our plan.” The plan has since been approved by the CCHE.
Noting the “third-party verification of the quality of the plan,” Board Chair Robert Cohen applauded the efforts put into the “depth” of the report and how that “reflects on the institution overall.”
To help keep the College community informed on budget issues, Jordan also announced a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18 from 7:30-9 a.m. in Tivoli Turnhalle.
Bonds sale for Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center
The Board also celebrated the sale of bonds for the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center at a 4.34 percent interest rate. Trustee Ellen Robinson, chair of the Finance Subcommittee, contacted a senior executive of FirstBank of Colorado to thank the bank for purchasing bonds and learned they “were very concerned and interested in supporting higher education in Colorado.”
Trustee Dawn Bookhardt said the sale was “was absolutely incredible…Hotel financing in public realms is always complicated.” But, she adds, “we sold, we’re done, ready to just start turning dirt.”
After four years of conceptualizing the capital construction projects, Jordan said, “We are now at the point to begin execution of the plan. The next two and a half years, we’ll see a net increase in space for Metro State of 25 percent.”
Other board approvals
The board approved the Anthropology Department’s study-abroad program, “Nicaragua: Land of Lakes and Volcanoes Study Abroad Course,” as well as a resolution appointing General Counsel Loretta P. Martinez as board secretary.
Homecoming dates set
Associate Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Cherrelyn Napue, on behalf of Alumni Trustee Eric Peterson, reported that homecoming will be Feb. 13-19, 2011.
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