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Westmoreland County Community College passes tentative budget

For review

A copy of the preliminary budget is available for public review in Ron Eberhardt's office in Founders Hall on Westmoreland County Community College's Youngwood campus. Eberhardt is vice president of administrative services.

Friday, May 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Westmoreland County Community College administrators, staff and coaches will receive 3 percent pay increases under a $38.72 million 2013-14 preliminary budget approved by trustees on Wednesday.

The budget would increase college spending about $330,600, or less than 1 percent for the fiscal year that begins July 1, over this year's revised budget. The preliminary budget is open for public comment until the trustees' next meeting on June 26.

“It's pretty much a status quo budget,” said WCCC President Daniel Obara. “I think we're in relatively good shape compared to some of our colleagues across the state at other community colleges.”

State and county funding are expected to remain level this year, Obara said. Student tuition is projected to increase by about $645,000 because of a $3-per-credit increase approved last month, bringing tuition to $93 per credit hour for county residents beginning this fall.

Obara said the college continues to fill positions that become vacant but is not adding positions because next year it will absorb the $225,000 cost of several student support positions now funded by a grant.

The federal Title III grant that has funded the jobs for the past four years will expire at the end of September, Obara said.

Wage costs are expected to increase nearly $735,000 next year with the increases for administrators, staff and coaches, as well as 3 percent raises for college faculty under their union contract. Faculty raises built into the contract do not have to be approved by trustees annually, Obara said.

The preliminary budget pegs total wage costs at about $20.6 million.

Trustees approved increasing starting salaries by an average of 2.5 percent, while part-time faculty and part-time substitute faculty rates remain the same as this year.

To balance the budget, the college cut expenses in most categories, including slashing staff benefit expenses by more than $182,000 by making changes to its health care plans, Obara said.

Contracted services, such as phone usage and postage were cut by more than $110,000, and expenses for facilities and supplies each were reduced by more than $25,000.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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