ICC has slight budget increase reflecting increased enrollment

By SANDI P. BEASON
Daily Journal

A budget for Itawamba Community College's fiscal year 2004-2005 is up slightly from last year, reflecting increased enrollment.

Last year's total budget was $47,028,033, compared to the $51,842,095 total approved Monday by the college's board of trustees.

“That's about a 10 percent increase overall,” said Jerry Senter, vice-president of business services. “About 70 percent of that amount is for salaries and fringe benefits. Seventy percent of the general operating fund budget is for salaries and benefits, which is in line with our purpose of educating people in the five-county area.”

ICC President David Cole said the college has seen an 80 percent increase in enrollment in the last 10 years, and that trend is expected to continue.

“Based on the summer registration and orientation, we are up over last year's numbers at this time,” Cole said. “About 58 percent of our budget is derived from state funds that come from an enrollment-driven formula. If you have an increased enrollment, you are able to draw more funds.”

The amount appropriated per student has decreased roughly $1,000 over the past five years, he said, so even though the budget reflects more money appropriated by the state than last year's figures, less money has been generated.

“There was a need to increase the capacity of the college,” Cole said. “That's personnel and facilities. We are opening up this fall a new humanities building. Last year we opened a new men's dormitory. We're trying to meet the needs of people who access the college.”

ICC received $13,724,299 from the state this year, compared with $13,285,646 last year. It received $3,826,700 from its five counties – Itawamba, Lee, Monroe, Chickasaw and Pontotoc – up from $3,780,658 last year.

This year's budget includes approximately $450,000 from the ICC Foundation, and $1.9 million for scholarships.

This year, ICC will not have a reserve fund in case of state budget cuts.

“Last year, we set aside five percent in a contingency fund,” Cole said. “We had been advised that in the case of a mandated cutback by the governor to have some money in a reserve fund. We were advised that the budget was sound this year, and we would not need to budget for the contingency fund.”

Its debt service amount rose from $1,651,615 to $1,906,919, due to the college picking up a utility bond to finance an upgrade of its energy consumption systems.

“We believe that this is a workable budget,” Senter said. “It meets all the requirements. We have all personnel in place for us to meet the challenges we'll face in the coming year.”