Audit Plan for Alamo Colleges
When elected to the Alamo Community College Board of Trustees, I will ask for an external audit Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) to review all resources, operations, and expenditures, followed up by a written report of any findings. Including an internal review to ensure accuracy and to prevent any irregularities within the spending budget. We want to ensure that Alamo Colleges is running an effective operation. Alamo College tuition rates since 2015 have spiked by 46%. Including extra rates for books and materials. The budget for the year is currently at 409.7 million dollars. However, we can reduce unnecessary expenses in the budget. Every year the budget increases by at least 10-15%. I would like to balance out the budget and reduce spending and be cost-effective by cutting 10-15% of the 409 million dollar budget. For example, preventive maintenance at NVC is around 2.9 million and at SAC which is a smaller campus is almost three times more at 8.2 million dollars. There are many items on the budget that I believe can be more effective.
Years back, Alamo Colleges bought the Tobin Hill Loft which was a project that cost taxpayers over 30 million dollars. NRP estimated in 2012 that the complex would bring the college system about $3.8 million over 12 years. The plan didn't come close to that. The complex’s debt piled on instead. A poor investment. I want to ensure that we are wisely using the budget. The annual review will also be transparent for the community to review. Regarding the tuition spikes, most of all research shows that tuition spikes happen mainly because of administration bloating. A lot of spending happens on administrative buildings and staff. Alamo Colleges have had cuts to the budget before. Back in 2010, it had cut around 21 million dollars. However, this led to increases in the tax rate and tuition rates. Our plan is not to increase either. A three point plan would help reduce tuition rates here at Alamo Colleges.
Making use of technology. Digital textbooks, via e-books, can dramatically reduce student costs, by providing full-on opportunities to earn some or most of their course credit online. Colleges are spending a lot of printing with major educational publishers such as Pearson. With more and better quality education apps appearing on the market every day, educators have many unique opportunities to provide life-changing learning experiences without the life-crippling cost.
Providing more education to students and families about costs and options. Often, students begin their college experience with very little understanding of the cost and what their tuition pays. Colleges are beginning to provide better information about spending so students can make more informed decisions.
Reducing administrative costs. One of the biggest reasons for higher tuition rates is the amount of administration bloating. While most agree that reducing the number of instructors negatively impacts the quality of instruction, administrators could be cut from college budgets with very little negative impact on the organizational structure.