State Budget Crisis Impacts Local College

    September 29, 2010


    State Budget Crisis Impacts Local College

    The California state budget impasse will soon impact Copper Mountain College.  September is the third consecutive month that Copper Mountain College has not received its funding from the State.   At this time last year the College had received just over $2,500,000 in state reimbursement compared to zero dollars this year. 

    The lack of state funds has forced the College to dip deep into its reserves.  According to Superintendent/President Dr. Roger Wagner, “Many colleges across the state have used their reserves and are now borrowing funds to meet payroll, and operating expenses.  We are projecting that we will exhaust our reserves near the third week of October.”  At last week’s Board of Trustees Budget Workshop the College’s Chief Business Officer, Meredith Plummer explained to the Board that the College had prepared for this scenario by establishing a line of credit for the college as well as a Board Resolution that would allow for temporary borrowing from the College’s construction fund.  Borrowing from the construction fund would not save the College money because interest would still need to be paid, however the interest would come back to the College’s construction fund rather than going to a third party. 

    Wagner further explained that “We are fortunate to have the reserves to carry us through this extremely difficult time.  Our reserves were projected to be at 16% but we closed the year at 23%.  This increase in reserves came from higher than expected state reimbursements and unanticipated reductions in personnel costs and have allowed us to operate up to now without any borrowing.”

    All employees have been asked to curtail or stop spending in areas that do not have a direct impact on students and student learning.  “Our students for the most part have not felt the impact that students at other colleges throughout the state have had to endure, but this may not be the case if the budget crisis continues into November.”  Wagner emphasized that if payments from the State are not restored by the end of October it could mean students would not receive their Cal-Grants in November.  Wagner did note that a significant portion of CMC students received federal Pell Grants, and rely less on Cal Grants than students at many other colleges in California.  “This budget situation is bad, but we have contingencies in place to absolutely ensure there is no disruption in our payroll, general operations, or student learning” insisted Wagner.