Board of Regents passes tentative budget

Mark Young

The Board of Regents passed a tentative budget for the 2017-18 school year at their Aug. 31 meeting, with the key word being “tentative.”

The new budget is expected to see a 9 percent increase from last year’s budget, with an emphasis on salaries, maintenance and various other departments.

The budget, which has been worked on for the majority of the summer, was expected to be passed in full on Aug. 31, but has seen some discomfort from some of the regents.

Regent Ed Bennett expressed his discomfort after noticeable errors were seen on the Powerpoint presentation that was being shown. Figures from a Powerpoint slide were not included in the presentation and led to confusion among the regents.

Bennett, who has a background in accounting, was also not happy with the new format in which the budget was proposed. In previous years, more thorough presentations were given, including more in-depth looks at the budget for each department.

“The presentation was streamlined this year to try and speed up the process,” said Lenora Keas, vice president of Workforce Development and Strategic Initiatives.

Nonetheless, Bennett said that on top of the error in the presentation, he had asked for a more complete and in-depth look at the proposed budget, but “had not received anything” even though he asked repeatedly over the past month.

Second Vice-Chair Regent Carol Scott also expressed discomfort at the errors found in the proposal, but said “I’m willing to pass a budget here today” but added that she wanted a more thorough look and discussion in the future.

By law, a budget had to pass before the end of the fiscal year, meaning the regents had to decide before the end of the Aug. 31 meeting.

Discomfort aside, the budget was tentatively passed by all (excluding Regent Elva Estrada,who was not present for the vote), with some of the regents saying that possible changes will be brought up in future meetings.

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