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Westmoreland County Community College trustees approve $38M preliminary budget

| Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 11:30 p.m.

Westmoreland County Community College trustees approved the school's preliminary budget of more than $38 million on Wednesday for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The proposed spending plan, which has $38.53 million in revenue and $38.2 million in expenditures, is open for public comment. Trustees will vote on a final budget at their June 24 meeting.

The spending plan projects a surplus of nearly $329,500, which will be used to replenish reserve funds the college dipped into to balance budgets during the past few years, WCCC President Tuesday Stanley said.

The college initially had estimated a $2.2 million deficit for this fiscal year, but officials cut spending, increased tuition and fees, and are holding several positions open, at least temporarily, Stanley said. Drops in enrollment and funding from Westmoreland County contributed to the shortfall, Stanley has said.

Officials cut $3.5 million from the budget, shaving spending on supplies, travel and capital expenditures. Positions were evaluated as to whether they were “mission critical” and, if not, they remain open, Stanley said.

Revenues will be buoyed in the 2015-16 budget by a tuition increase of $24 per credit, or almost 25 percent, and an increase in college fees of $8 per credit that take effect for the fall term, which begins Aug. 20.

Under the new rates, the cost per credit will rise from $98 per credit to $122 per credit and fees for technology, facilities, student services, ID replacement and applications will be bundled and charged to students at $39 per credit.

“We're supportive of what the college has to do,” said Mike Hricik, head of WCCC's faculty union and an English professor.

Trustees voted to freeze those tuition and fee rates through 2017 at their March meeting.

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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