Sauk is a small institution that serves a primarily rural district population. The majority of the college’s operating funds come from a combination of tuition and fees, state funds, and local property taxes that has traditionally been about equal. Recent economic trends in the area are causing an increased reliance on tuition. Figure 2i depicts the changes in funding proportions over the last six years.
The Board of Trustees and administration accept that Sauk has limited resources and carefully monitor the college’s financial status. The Dean of Business Services stays abreast of state funding issues and presents a monthly financial report to the Board to provide evidence that the college is operating within capacity. As a critical step in the annual planning process, the Dean of Business Services presents multi-year financial projections to administrators, the Organizational Planning and Improvement Committee (OPIC), and the Board.
Sauk’s approach to sound fiscal management consists of balancing the Mission directive to provide quality services with the obligation to honor the community’s traditional expectation of frugality. The Strategic Plan implemented in FY07, for example, emphasized the college’s commitment to achieve both quality and fiscal responsibility in setting a goal for “the highest value of educational services while being fiscally responsible.”
Examination of the Strategic Plans developed over the last ten years shows attention to various strategies to secure the fiscal welfare of the college:
OPIC and the Board of Trustees continue to refine the balance between the mission imperative of high quality service and that of controlling finances. The state’s decreased revenues and its accumulated debt is expected to result in significant cuts to community college funding. The FY11 Strategic Plan, in balancing expansion with controlling finances, includes Strategic Goals and Objectives specifically to “expand and improve the quality of programs and services” and to “maintain an appropriate operating fund surplus.” Offices and academic areas throughout the college are pursuing numerous activities intended to meet these Strategic Goals and Objectives, as evidenced by Operational Plans. The results of these efforts are summarized in annual reports, which are organized by Strategic Goal.