RCC's windfall will help

An expected boost in state funding for community colleges will give Rogue Community College employees a raise and enable the school to beef up its savings account.

The RCC board adopted a $28 million general fund budget this week, an increase of more than $1.1 million from the budget proposed in April.

The additional money comes primarily from the Oregon Legislature's plan to approve $500 million to support community colleges rather than the previously expected $471 million. The change will bump RCC's state funding to $8.9 million from about $8.3 million, officials said.

Additional money also comes from increased revenue from fees collected from manufacturing-engineering students, a decision to keep more student fees for the general fund rather than passing them on to a student group, an increase in property tax revenues because of changes in the tax base and a modest revision of interest income estimates.

Most of the additional money — nearly $570,000 — will be kept in the college's contingency reserve, boosting it to nearly $1.2 million from $600,000. The contingency is nearly 4.3 percent of the total adopted budget, still below the 5 to 10 percent reserve many budget experts recommend, school officials said.

The remainder of the increase will be used for pay raises. The board agreed Tuesday to pay faculty at the statewide average in accordance with their contract. The change amounts to a 2.7 percent salary increase that wasn't included in the lean budget first proposed this spring, officials said.

Officials didn't consider hiring back any of the employees laid off, RCC spokeswoman Margaret Bradford said.

In the initial budget proposal, RCC eliminated 32 jobs, furloughed a diesel technology program, modified an electronics program, reorganized how student services are provided and cut its reserve fund. The program changes were made because of low enrollment.

"The additional revenue does not bring back any of the positions eliminated," the school's chief financial officer Lynda Warren said in a prepared statement.

The board also extended the contract of RCC President Peter Angstadt. The agreement is a three-year rolling contract with performance and compensation reviewed annually. The extended contract will run until 2010. He was awarded a 1.5 percent raise in his base compensation.

Board members involved in the annual review said in a news release that they were pleased with Angstadt's work leading the college through a difficult period of cuts in programs and personnel.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485 or aburke@mailtribune.com

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