By Sabrina Edwards
The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees was going to meet in person for the first time this semester, however, chose to meet virtually on Monday to discuss audits, monitoring reports, the budget update, as well as highlighted grant work that the college is currently doing.
The board opened with a review of the audit, which was created in partnership with Plante Moran. Vicki VanDenBerg, from Plante Moran, showcased the 2020 audit in comparison to the 2019 audit. Plante Moran gave the school a clean unmodified opinion, which is the highest level of assurance they can give. Compared to last year, GRCC is down in operating revenue, which VanDenBerg primarily said was affected due to the summer semester being down and students deferring during the previous winter semester due to COVID-19. However, the nonoperating revenue is up.
“Solid results, but it was the help of the capital contribution as well as the CARES Act,” said VanDenBerg about the schools 2020 fiscal year.
VanDenBerg stated that while the 2020 fiscal year ended positively, in terms of finances, the 2021 fiscal year could be greatly affected by coronavirus. She cited that due to students not being on-campus the school would be down in aspects, such as parking and other on-campus fees.
The operating revenue in 2019 was $56.7 million in comparison to 2020 at $53.7 million. The operating expenses were higher as well. In 2019 it was at $134.4 million and they are currently at $139.8 million this year.
Following that, Sheila Jones, Dean of Instructional Support, presented the monitoring reports. Jones gave an update on the teaching and learning goal that they currently have, which includes optimizing programs, measuring student learning, and improving online learning. This is to help aid students, expand courses, and focuses on the four distance learning in training faculty and aiding students for success.
The board spent a while discussing student success and how faculty can maintain engagement and passion while teaching remotely, which is something that has been discussed heavily since the beginning of the pandemic.
Lisa Freiburger gave a budget update. Tuition is down 9%, which is 6% more than what was projected. However, GRCC did receive the CARES Act funding, which is making up for a monetary loss from waiving of online fees. The CARES Act is also aiding in payment of smaller classes and salaries of workers related to COVID-19, like custodians.
Freiburger echoed VanDerBerg’s remarks and stated that GRCC is anticipating an 80% drop in parking revenue. On top of that, food service revenue is down due to there not being as many students on campus.
Afterwards, Chairperson Koetje asked if anyone had any news to share, to which he mentioned trustee Daniel Williams was named by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as one of the most influential leaders under the age of 40. To which Williams replied that he is on the other side of that, because he’s 41 now.
President Bill Pink spoke about workforce development and training in his report to the board. He also outlined what the college has done with the promise grant it received. The $6 million grant GRCC received was used to help bring in workers from other countries. Their goal was to serve 1,000 people, which they were able to pass, serving 1,602 people in total.
The next board meeting will be held on Nov. 16.