Financial Statement from Mt. Hood Community College District Board of Education
The state of Oregon’s revenue forecast, released Nov. 19, reported good news for the short term and troubling news for the long term. In essence, the state does not expect to make further cuts – and subsequent cuts to services – to the budget for the rest of the biennium ending June 30, 2011. However, Oregon is facing a $3.5-billion shortfall in the next budget period 2011-13. We consider a $3.5-billion shortfall troubling, indeed.
What does this mean for Mt. Hood Community College? For the short term, we are pleased this economic forecast is not immediately triggering discussions about additional revenue generation and expense reduction strategies that MHCC experienced earlier this year. We still anticipate serious cuts for the next biennium, which already predicts a budget shortfall of at least $5.5 million to our current funding level. This represents an 8.3-percent cut to the College’s general fund starting in July 2011, and realistically we must prepare now for the long-term health and viability of the College’s mission.
It is critical that the College continue on its course to manage its resources wisely during these economically challenging times. We must focus our attention on revenue enhancing and expense reducing strategies that will continue to bring our expenditures in line with expected revenues in order to close the $5.5 million deficit.
For example, 80 percent of the College’s total expenditures are in salary and benefits costs. We can no longer pay salaries to our most experienced faculty that are far above the average of community colleges in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Additionally, we can no longer offer benefits plans for which employees pay up to 81 percent less than their peers at comparable community colleges.
Our priority is, and remains, serving the students who attend MHCC to make their education and life dreams a reality. For that reason, the College must do everything it can to close the projected budget deficit. We appreciate the work that employees have done – and continue to do – to help us find ways to weather this difficult economy.