Budget woes prompt changes at Bevill State

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 10/12/17

Bevill State Community College recently made budget cuts that have resulted in laying off 19 employees.

Once BSCC Interim President Dr. Kim Ennis discovered mid-summer that the college had been deficit spending for five years, she said she knew eliminating positions would be necessary. After reaching out to the Alabama Community College System’s chancellor’s office, Ennis was informed she would need to make more cuts than expected.

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Budget woes prompt changes at Bevill State

Posted

Bevill State Community College recently made budget cuts that have resulted in laying off 19 employees.

Once BSCC Interim President Dr. Kim Ennis discovered mid-summer that the college had been deficit spending for five years, she said she knew eliminating positions would be necessary. After reaching out to the Alabama Community College System’s chancellor’s office, Ennis was informed she would need to make more cuts than expected.

“Immediately we knew we needed to make some budget changes, because that’s what anyone would do when they found they were spending more money than their revenues were,” Ennis said. “[The chancellor’s office wanted] us to go a little further than that and protect any reserve money we had. We realized we needed to make some even deeper cuts.”

Ten full-time, non-tenured employees and nine part-time employees are no longer working at the college. Ennis said the budget had to be tightened to help maintain the college’s $4 million operating reserve. Job duties of all laid off employees have been dispersed to others at the college. Full-time employee layoffs were effective Aug. 31.

“These cuts were made just to keep the college healthy. They weren’t made because there’s any concerns about any of our campuses being in jeopardy or anything like that,” Ennis said. “The college is healthy, and we wouldn’t be good stewards of the state money if we weren’t taking the steps we’re taking right now.”

Ennis said the college receives just over $15 million each year through a state appropriation from the Educational Trust Fund — an amount she says has been trending down since 2009. She said it takes more than $30 million annually to operate all campuses, and other budget needs have to be met through tuition and fee revenue, along with some indirect support.

Tuition and fees will not increase as a result of budget cuts.

Ennis stressed the college still has a required two months of operating reserve, along with other reserve funds. The chancellor’s office has instructed the college to increase reserve funds, which contributed to the decision to make budget cuts.

Aside from budget cuts, the college is still on track to open one-stop centers on its campuses, but work on the centers has been put on hold.

“In light of my budget discoveries in mid-July, we are taking a look at all the plans we had for Davis Hall and one-stop facility work we were going to do in Sumiton, because we did get a bond issue to help fund those. We’re currently just reassessing where we are,” she said.

Ennis relayed many encouraging things happening at the college, and said dual enrollment is where the college is seeing the most growth. In the fall of 2016, dual enrollment was at 614 and has jumped to 811 this year college-wide.

She said general enrollment has been on the increase. In fall of 2016, enrollment college-wide was at 3,809 and is up to 3,864.

She said other strengths for the college include a partnership with Alabama Power, a new entrepreneur program and other offerings.