The Nicolet College Board of Trustees recently passed a new budget that cuts $500,000 from operational expenses for 2012-13 and adheres to the operational tax levy freeze which is in place for all state technical colleges.
“Everyone at Nicolet realizes that these are challenging economic times and that it is vital that we reduce operational expenses as much as possible,” said Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster. “The challenge is to make cuts and still move the college forward, maintain educational quality, and meet the changing needs of residents and businesses in the Northwoods. This budget does that.”
The most recent budget reduction comes on top of the $600,000 the board cut from the operational budget last year for a total of a $1.1 million budget reduction over the past two years.
Much of these savings were realized through staff reductions and improved operational efficiencies. Starting July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year, Nicolet will have the equivalent of 11 fewer full-time staff. All of these position cuts came from the administrative, support staff, and non-teaching ranks.
Burmaster stressed that there were no cuts made to the number of instructor positions.
“It is critically important to maintain instructor positions in order to maintain a high level of educational quality and respond to workforce development needs,” she explained.
Last year Nicolet cut the equivalent of 9.8 full-time positions. This makes for a total reduction of 20.8 employee FTEs over the past two years.
Even with significant reductions in the past two budgets, Burmaster noted the college has prioritized new academic programs in an effort to expand career opportunities for residents and meet the workforce needs of Northwoods businesses. These new programs include manufacturing industrial maintenance, dental hygiene, architectural technology, geographic information systems, and two new certificates in information technology.
The 2012-13 budget is based on a 4 percent decline in equalized property value and a little more than a 2 percent increase in the total tax levy for the Nicolet District. Exact figures won’t be known until fall when the state releases official equalized property values and the Board of Trustees determines the mill rate.
The mill rate is projected to be 1.22, resulting in the tax on a $100,000 home to increase by $7.24.
“Nicolet provides a quality education that prepares our students for the world of work and further education,” Burmaster said. “We are committed to educational excellence which will be key to bringing economic prosperity back to the Northwoods.”