Napa Valley College Set to Improve Budgeting Practices in Draft 2022-23 Plan | Local News


In an effort to step out of accreditation scrutiny and bolster historically weak budgeting practices, the Napa Valley College Board of Trustees last week approved a draft budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year that shows NVC’s revenues will be approximately $1.2 million higher than projected expenditures if budget assumptions hold.

This positive balance on paper – as well as a positive balance of $109,943 in the current 2021-2022 budget – is in part the result of actions taken in recent months to not renew the contracts of several department heads, remove 72 class sections and suspending the community college law enforcement academy for at least a year, among other things.

“The good news is that we are in the dark. The challenge for me is to keep us in the dark for the last 28 days or so of the month,” James Reeves, vice president of business and finance, told the NVC board last week. “We are working diligently to make sure we end up in a good position and we are adding something to our reserves this year.”

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The budget also contains $175,000 in plans to improve NCAC budgeting. It’s necessary because the community college is considered “at risk” by an agency that accredits West Coast community colleges due to three years of deficit spending and dwindling reserves.

This includes $50,000 to implement budgeting software from higher education software provider Ellucian, $50,000 to review and implement post control software, a $25,000 compensation study and $100,000 to create a senior budget manager position to manage long-term budgeting and implement necessary changes.

“The Senior Budget Manager is an effort to address a wide range of budget issues and compliance issues that we work to resolve,” Reeves said.

Reeves noted that the college had had Ellucian budgeting software for years, but hadn’t implemented it. One of the reasons for this, he said, is that staff felt overwhelmed with upgrading the software and resources were not allocated to training staff so that the software could be rolled out. as expected.

“Apparently it’s a module we own that we haven’t been able to implement since purchase,” Reeves said.

Charo Albarran, associate vice president of human resources and training and development, said the company promised when it originally purchased the software that the software would be able to meet all of NVC’s budget needs. That’s not how it turned out, she said, and NVC staff are exploring other options after trying to use the software at short notice.

“Even in the conversation we had earlier this week speaking with the company, we’re hearing exactly the same thing we heard 15 or more years ago when we purchased this product,” Albarran said. . “They haven’t built this where we can use it fully to track our position control and tie it to budget. And that’s why we’re looking at other options because it’s 2022 and there’s a plethora options. But we need to find the right thing that fits this district and our immediate position control needs.”

Acting President Rob Frost called the failure to invest in implementing the tool the fault of NVC management.

“It’s not about the business office, it’s not about human resources, it’s not about IT, it’s about the underinvestment in the initial programming that had to take place to full implementation,” Frost said. “…We didn’t invest in programming, either onsite or by an outside programmer to fully implement it. And it’s on us. And we told you about this under-investment. Instead, that money was spent on other things, and now the college is really paying for it.

Several CNV board members thanked college staff and Frost for taking the accreditation situation seriously and making the necessary operational changes to improve CNV’s budgeting process. Administrator Kyle Iverson said he feels better about the budget now than he did a few months ago.

“It’s not perfect yet, but I think we have a better understanding, and I think we’re putting systems in place that weren’t there,” Iverson said.

Administrator Elizabeth Goff added that, despite the cost of software upgrades, they will be necessary for the college’s long-term financial health.

“While some may say, ‘Why are you spending money on this software?’, these are the things we need to really get us back on track,” Goff said. “So I really appreciate that you take that to heart and put that in the budget and again invest in setting them up and running them and training the staff so that they become useful and really help us stay on track.”

The final CNV budget for 2022-23 will be submitted for approval later this month.

You can reach Edward Booth at 707-256-2213.


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