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Nicolet College - Nicolet trustees cut $524,000 from college budget

Nicolet trustees cut
$524,000 from college budget


Faced with a budget deficit of $524,000, the Nicolet College Board of Trustees recently approved a series of cuts and staffing reductions to balance the 2009-10 budget.

It was important for the college to do this without affecting the quality of instruction in classrooms and without raising taxes, said Gene Carlson, board chair. “These are challenging times and cuts are common across the public and private sectors,” Carlson said. “Nicolet is no different. If there’s a bright side it’s that we were able to make the cuts, balance the budget, and do so in a way that preserves the high quality of instruction at Nicolet without additional tax dollars.”

The budget deficit came about when property valuations issued by the state this past summer showed a 1.38 percent decrease of property values in the Nicolet district. This past spring, when the college and the board built the budget, it was projected that property values would increase slightly. This reduction in tax base – the first in many years – resulted in the trustees having to cut the budget, Carlson explained.

Many of the cuts and subsequent savings will come from the college electing not to fill a vice president position and several other positions in the current budget year, said Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster.

Additional savings came from cutting budgets for supplies, travel and professional development, facility rentals, and contracted services.

What helped offset the cuts was the additional tuition revenue the college took in from a 12 percent enrollment increase for the fall semester, Burmaster added. “That clearly helped, but it’s important to realize that tuition only covers about 16 percent of the actual cost of a college education at Nicolet,” she said. The remaining cost is covered by state aid, grants, property taxes, and institutional revenue.

“It’s vital for Nicolet to keep tuition affordable in order to make college possible for the greatest number of Northwoods residents,” she added. “In the end, that’s a benefit to everyone in the region.”

Tuition is set annually by the Wisconsin Technical College System Board. This rate then applies to all technical colleges in the state system.

With the cuts, Nicolet’s 2009-10 budget will decrease to $31.6 million. The mill rate approved by the board was lowered slightly from the projection in spring of 1.057 to 1.0561 for 2009-10. This will result in a tax of $105.61 on a $100,000 home.