LBCC President Greg Hamann Talks Budget, Expansion of Programs And More In 2019 Spring Forum
In a cool room on a hot day, about 35 staff and administration met in Forum room 104 for LBCC President Greg Hamann’s Spring address on Thursday, April 17.
During the president’s spring term address, Hamann brought up topics such as state budget talks, the administration’s expansion and suspension of different programs, and the role of community colleges in educating students for middle-sector jobs.
He opened the floor to questions, comments, and discussion about each topic.
Hamann was positive about the administration’s proposed budget, saying that it puts the college in a stable budget situation for the next two years.
Hamann talked about expansion as well as suspension of different programs at LBCC. The equine program just got approved for a 53-plus acre parcel on Looney Lane to expand their facility. The welding program also will have improved facilities, with a training building that has traditional equipment at one end and brand-new computerized equipment at the other.
On the other hand, Hamann referenced the administration’s suspension of the Horticulture program, saying, “We continue to have people who come talk to the board about Horticulture.” Hamann said because of the state’s level of support, the college faced an economic challenge.
According to Hamann, in the January board and budget discussion meeting the college’s board of education saw a need to “fill in a projected $2 million shortfall in the budget development model for the upcoming year.”
The board directed the ending-fund balance to fill in one-third of this deficit, and the remainder of the savings to be solved “equally with tuition increase and reduction in costs,” according to Hamann.
Hamann said the LBCC administration continues to lobby state legislators for a revenue package that will fully support the community college. “Businesses will lobby against the revenue package,” said Hamann, but “PERS could be a bargaining agent with business because they want to talk about PERS.”
The Public Employee Retirement System costs “are projected to double over the next two bienniums,” according to Hamann, though he also cautioned that “all problems aren’t related to PERS.”
The president then went on to speak about the importance of middle-sector jobs. “Ever since Sputnik, K-12 is college prep to the detriment of a whole sector of the economy,” Hamann said, saying that now there is a “reawakening [of] the need for middle-sector jobs.”
Hamann also paid tribute to Shelly Garrett, an LBCC Board member who recently passed away. Garrett represented Lebanon on the LBCC Board of Education for eight years. “She’d make deals. She was good at getting the right people into the room with each other.”
Garrett’s advocacy made possible the Advanced Transportation Technology Center and she also supported the Health Occupations Center. Garrett “made LBCC Lebanon’s college,” said Hamann.
“She promoted us in ways that are exceptional.”
Story by Karen Canan