The Elgin Community College Board recently approved a $110.8 million overall spending budget for fiscal year 2018 with no cuts to personnel as was seen last year.
The 2018 budget takes into account an anticipated decline in enrollment and a $4 per credit hour tuition increase. Property tax revenue in operating funds is expected to grow by $1.3 million, said Sharon Konny, vice president of business and finance.
That's due to an increase in the Consumer Price Index, taxes on new properties within the district, and shifting a portion of the tax levy from other levy categories, documents show.
Last fiscal year, the college cut $5.6 million in expenses, including eliminating 23 staff positions due to state funding shortfalls and freezing 22 vacant positions for a cost savings of nearly $2 million.
"There is no cuts to programming (this year)," Konny said. "The positions that we froze in the previous year and reductions in force are continuing. We haven't added any new positions. We cut an awful lot when we were doing the fiscal 2017 budget."
While there is no hiring freeze, vacancies due to retirement or resignation will be evaluated to see if positions need to be filled, she added.
College departments also were asked to reduce expenses, such as for travel, training and projects.
The 2018 operating budget expenditures are slightly higher than last year primarily due to increases in salaries and benefits ($850,000) because of contractual commitments, and a rise in health insurance costs.
"We see increases anywhere from 2 to 4 percent a year for health insurance," Konny pointed out.
The cost of general materials and supplies in the 2018 budget decreased by $350,000, but utility expenses are estimated to increase by $250,000.
The college's tuition will increase from $125 to $129 per credit hour this fall. Last fiscal year, tuition increased by $6 per credit hour from 2016.
"We are showing a small decline in tuition and fees," Konny said. "While the tuition went up $4, we are budgeting for a (4 percent) decline in enrollment for fiscal 2018."
There were 15,285 students enrolled in at least one term during fiscal year 2017.
Officials are cautiously optimistic of receiving the funding they are owed with the adoption of a new state budget. They are anticipating $4.8 million in state funding this year. Yet, the state still owes the college little more than $3 million for fiscal year 2017.
"We understand we will receive fiscal year 2017 money first," Konny said. "We're anticipating it is going to be very slow. We understand there is a large backlog of bills in the comptrollers office -- about $14.3 billion."
Meanwhile, ECC is negotiating contracts with its support staff and police unions. The contract for support staff expired June 30, while this is the first contract for 14 police officers who voted last December to form a union.