It appears that the Yavapai Community College is on its way to deliver a “Valentine’s day gift” to students wrapped up as a 5-percent tuition increase. This increase will likely occur at the District Governing Board meeting Tuesday, February 14 in Prescott. The “gift” will be swathed in hyper-technical rhetoric considered the “black art” of accounting and unhelpful comparisons between tuition charged at the community college and that charged at four-year universities and other community colleges.
Absent will be sparse serious in-depth Governing Board analysis of spending priorities, excess revenue from 2015-16, reducing its wild capital building spree, the financial impact of losing 6,000 students by headcount in 10 years, the alleged veteran aeronautics tuition/fee scam, or a consideration of areas where real savings could be achieved.
Relevant to any requested tuition increase is the fact that last month the College disclosed in writing that in fiscal year 2015-16 it didn’t use about $10 million in revenue.
Of that amount, $8 million was apparently provided by taxes and tuition. Because it didn’t spend the budgeted $10 million, the College asked and received Governing Board approval to retroactively modify the 2015-16 budget.
According to the College’s January report, it received $44 million in taxes and tuition revenue in 2015-16 for use in the general fund that pays for education. However, it didn’t spend $4 million of the revenue. In its plant fund, the College said it intended to use $12.8 million of the taxes and tuition it collected on parking lots and buildings. However, it reported it used only $8.4 million.
To a taxpayer, this ostensibly looks like there is over $8 million in revenue that should be available for use in a 2017-18 budget. Why then ask for a tuition increase?
The College’s Valentine’s day greeting card to students for 2017 should read something like this: “We’re bursting with happiness that we can now fill, our overflowing vaults, with 5 percent more from your personal till.”