Howard College Approves Leaner Budget

by Mike Henry
KBYG - Special to NewsWest9
BIG SPRING - Howard College trustees Monday approved the fiscal year 2010-2011 budget and tax rate after no one spoke during the public hearing on the subject.  
The tax rate is not going up, despite a decrease in state funding. The coming year's $37.9 million budget is balanced, and is less than the $46.9 million budget for the current year.  
The new budget for SWCID Is $3.9 million, compared to this year's $4.4 million. Texas colleges are running leaner budgets due to a decrease in state funding because of projected revenue shortfalls.
Despite tougher economic times, exciting things continue to unfold at Howard College as the first day of classes begin Wednesday. Construction projects continue across the Big Spring campus, but much of those are coming to fruition, according to Vice President Terry Hansen, who updated trustees Monday.
The $3.5 million dorms renovations have wrapped up just in time for student occupation. It was close though as school officials allowed a three month window during the summer to begin and finish.  
The ongoing construction bond project across the rest of the campus continues to remain on schedule and under budget. Some of the cost savings are being moved over to expand other areas of the construction projects, such as the science building and practical arts building.  
Trustees Monday approved a $1.7 million bid for work at the Practical Arts Building, which is significantly more than the college originally planned to spend, which was about $460,000.
Even with expansion of the scope in some construction project areas, Terry Hansen says the college is still about $1.5 million under budget for the $20 million bond.