SMC Board of Trustees adopts 2021-22 budgets

DOWAGIAC — Following a public hearing, the Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees June 9 adopted 2021-22 fiscal-year budgets.

The balanced $24,109,000 general fund for July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, anticipates $9,102,000 from tuition and fees, $6,406,000 from property taxes on 2.4038 mills and a $7,244,000 state appropriation.

“SMC has always had a balanced budget and does so again despite all of the many financial challenges born from the pandemic,” said Chairman Thomas F. Jerdon. “The administration has the highest gratitude from the Board of Trustees for steering the financial ship in the right direction while we continue to maintain our campuses, provide a 3-percent increase to all employees, complete a $550,000 chemistry lab project at the Niles Campus and continue to save for the future Lyons building renovation and other needs. All of this without special millage requests from the taxpayers.”

In his president’s report, Dr. Joe Odenwald said summer classes began Monday with head count up 9.8 percent.

“Contact hours are only up 0.7 percent, because we have some adults in the mix that we didn’t have before through the Michigan Reconnect program. Adult students often take fewer hours as they balance work, family and education,” Odenwald said. “For fall semester, Monday we were up 144 in head count and 14.5 percent in contact hours. Good orientation numbers are driving this. We’ve been doing orientations since May 1. We’ve got 75 pre-registered for Friday and about 74 for next week. We’re basically doing an orientation every week except last week, when graduations were happening, Memorial Day and around July 4. We must keep the momentum up and get to 2,021, and it’s trending in the right direction.”

“A year ago yesterday, we had 838 students enrolled with a budget that said we had to have 1,650. We opened the doors when the rest of the state was still pretty well shuttered and got to 1,770. Yesterday we had 992 students, just shy of 1,000. The point is, we’ve come through a tough, tough year. If we can rebuild our enrollment, we’re going to be okay,” Odenwald said.

Vicki VanDenBerg of Plante Moran by video reviewed the annual financial audit plan with trustees, including a timeline starting July 15 and year-end field work during the week of Sept. 13, with the final management letter delivered to the board at its Oct. 13 meeting.

“We’ll be focusing a lot of our time and effort on making sure federal stimulus packages related to COVID are properly reported for both financial statement purposes and federal compliance audit purposes,” VanDenBerg said.

In other business, the board accepted two gifts to the college totaling $660 and acknowledged a pair of gifts totaling $325 to the SMC Foundation.

As there is traditionally no July meeting, the next session on Aug. 11 will combine long-range planning with a dedication of the Recruiting Gallery trophy hall in the Charles O. Zollar Building on the Dowagiac campus.

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