Berkshire Community College ’15 budget ‘a good story’

 

Berkshire Eagle 10/09/2014, Page A01

By Jim Therrien

Berkshire Eagle Staff

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Community College has a tight budget for the current school year, but one that presents “a good story” overall, college Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer John Law informed trustees Tuesday.

Presenting the now-final budget figures for fiscal 2015, Law said a decline in enrollment — a trend for community colleges statewide — resulted in less revenue for BCC, but that it has been more than made up for through increases in state funding.

He said an expected decrease in revenue from student fees of just more than $400,000 from last year was offset by an $876,149 increase in the state appropriation.

Despite a “break-even budget,” the college added full-time faculty positions and invested in the goals of the school’s longterm strategic plan, Law said, and there will be no student fee hikes this year.

With the 6 percent decline in full-time-equivalent enrollment, there now are 2,230 students attending BCC, representing 1,295 full- timeequivalents.
The state appropriation to the college is $19,160,722 for fiscal 2015, up from $18,738,742 last year. The revenue from student fees is down from $7,521,061 last year to $7,477,655 this year.
BCC President Ellen Kennedy said at a prior board meeting that there has been a national decline in the total number of course credits taken, which is attributed to the improving economy.

As the economy improved following the recession, people began taking fewer courses, she said. A surge in the total course credits peaked at 49,857 for BCC in fiscal 2011, and has declined to just less than 40,000 for this year.

The college also received a positive report from David DiIulis, of O’Connor & Drew of Braintree, which provided an independent audit of BCC’s finances for the fiscal year ending June 30.

DiIulis said the college’s internal financial controls generated a clean report, with no issues noted, and the firm made no recommendations concerning the BCC financial statements. He praised the college staff for working quickly to gather information for the audit.

“ Your staff deserved high fives as well,” he told the trustees.

To reach Jim Therrien:jtherrien@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6247. On Twitter: @BE_therrien