FREEPORT — The Highland Community College Board of Trustees approved the permanent fiscal year 2018 budget on Wednesday, September 13, during their combined monthly meeting and quarterly retreat.
The operating funds budget, which includes instruction, student services, administration, and operations and maintenance of buildings and grounds includes $14.1 million in revenues and $14.8 million in expenses for fiscal year 2018 (FY18). The majority of the operating budget comprises instruction and services that directly impact students.
The State of Illinois adopted a budget for both FY17 and FY18 in July. According to Highland officials, the College has accounted for the full amount of the FY17 allocation in its FY17 budget, despite having received only about one-third of the funds to date. This allocation was $1.1 million more than the College had budgeted for, resulting in a surplus of about $960,000 for FY17, should the full allocation be received.
“State appropriations to the community college system for the current fiscal year are about 90 percent of the fiscal year 2015 levels, which was the most recent previous year in which a state budget was adopted,” said Vice President of Administrative Services Jill Janssen. “Highland’s appropriations for FY18 are about $620,000 less than the FY17 levels. Highland’s FY18 operating budget includes recognition of the full FY18 appropriation and an expected deficit of about $800,000.”
The College will utilize the current operating fund balance to offset the FY18 shortfall, according to Janssen. The resulting operating fund balance is budgeted to be about 21 percent of expenses at the end of FY18. Taken together, as appropriated by the State of Illinois, the results of Highland’s operations for FY17 and FY18 represent a slight surplus.
Janssen adds the main sources of revenue in the operating funds are student tuition and fees and local property taxes. Due to the State of Illinois’ budget challenges, state funding is no longer a mainsource of the College’s revenue, as it has been historically. In fact, state funding is expected to be only nine percent of overall funding for the coming fiscal year.
District-wide assessed valuation is estimated to increase slightly for the upcoming tax year resulting in about 1.5 percent more property tax revenue than received in the prior year. Overall, the College is budgeting for a 3 percent decrease in operating revenue from FY17 actual levels. It is estimated that the College’s overall tax rate will be maintained at the current levels.