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NOC announces reductions in staff, faculty; revision of budget

Beverly Bryant - November 19, 2018 9:37 am

STILLWATER —  The Northern Oklahoma College Board of Regents revised the 2018-19 operating budget last week at their monthly Regents meeting at NOC Stillwater.

The regents also approved the annual external audit by Finley & Cook, which showed no findings or questioned costs.

“We are pleased to have a ‘clean’ audit,” said Chad Dillingham, Board of Regents Chairman.

The regents also heard a report from Dr. Pam Stinson, Vice President of Academic Affairs on the college’s strategic plan for 2019-25.

Meetings have been held at NOC Tonkawa and NOC Stillwater with a third meeting planned for NOC Enid.  Employees are allowed to share ideas for the college’s future plans regarding facilities and programs.

The regents also approved a revised operational budget, reduced by $2.7 million from the 2018-19 fiscal year to address the lost revenue from decreased enrollment this academic year and to bring financial reserves in line with accrediting requirements.

The college has reviewed operational budgets and plans to reduce travel and supply costs in most departments. Reductions were made where possible to streamline further and still provide key services. Additional cost-saving measures included evaluating facilities. As a result, the swimming pool in Tonkawa and the Art building in Enid will be closed.

Dr. Cheryl Evans, NOC President, said that over the past few years NOC has seen dramatic cuts to state funding.  Since 2015, NOC has lost more than $2.4 million in state appropriations.

“Adjusting to those budget cuts was not easy,” Evans said.   “As we talked to our colleagues across the state, we heard of the impact on tuition, scholarships, delayed maintenance, and elimination of both positions and programs.  While Northern has had to make tough cuts in previous years as well, we weathered earlier cuts better than some schools, thanks to a healthy financial reserve and conservative planning.  These cuts did, however, dramatically decrease our required reserves and made strong enrollment even more important.”

Evans added that enrollment is trending downward statewide, and Northern’s enrollment is no exception.  Fall 2018 enrollment numbers are down with a 2.6 percent decrease in head count and 6.8 percent decrease in credit hour production, representing $1.03 million in lost revenue this fall alone.

“These decisions have been among the hardest we have had to make, but they are necessary,” Evans said.  “Positions were eliminated as follows: nine full-time positions (six staff and three faculty) that are currently vacant will not be filled; seven full-time staff positions that are currently filled will be eliminated; and numerous hourly and student positions were eliminated.  The last day of employment for those affected by the Reduction in Force will be Dec. 14.”

“Since 1901, our institution has seen peaks and valleys related to enrollment, finances, and state support.  While these steps are painful today, I believe that the revised budget approved by the NOC Board of Regents create a stronger future for our college in decades to come,” Evans added.

Chairman Dillingham added, “We (regents) are sensitive to the situation and we know this has been a grueling process.  This process has not been easy but we are trying to make as little impact on students as possible while also honoring the value of our current faculty and staff and retaining as much talent as we can for the future of NOC.”

 

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