Negative fund balance makes yearly appearance

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 2, 2007

WESSON – Members of Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Board ofTrustees expressed some concern Thursday night about a $2.5 millionnegative fund balance in the school’s budget for the month ofDecember.

Michael Tanner, the college’s business manager, assured them theschool was in fine financial shape, however. He said the juniorcollege was expecting $3.5 million from county allocations andother sources, including state and federal reimbursementdollars.

“This is not the first time this has happened,” Tanner said.”It’s a general trend that happens each time this time of year. Allof our bills have been paid and are up-to-date.”

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The net loss of the fund balance later focused attention onnegative fund balances for the Wolf Hollow Golf Course and thecollege’s food service.

The golf course brought in $175,514 in revenues but spent$197,583, a deficit of $22,069. The food service had a deficit of$37,615 by spending $696,684 while bringing in $659,069.

Co-Lin President Howell Garner said recent changes by the boardhave narrowed the deficit in those departments and officials aretaking a close look at other changes that could be implemented tofurther narrow the gap.

Despite the deficits there, Garner said the budget’s auxiliaryfund is still in the black because of funds generated by housingand the bookstore.

In personnel matters, the trustees recognized former boardmember Jack Burt for 18 years of service on the board. Burt retiredlast month.

“It’s been a pleasure to be associated with this board for somany years,” Burt said after accepting a plaque honoring histenure.

The board welcomed Johnny Pyles, of Crystal Springs, who wasattending his first meeting as Burt’s replacement.

The board also acknowledged the loss of another leaderThursday.

Louis Dugas, dean of the college’s career, technical andworkforce education department, announced his resignation in aletter. The resignation is effective June 30 at the end of theschool year.

“It was a difficult decision to make after 24.5 years ofemployment at Copiah-Lincoln,” Dugas said in the letter. “It’s beena wonderful experience and quite a challenge for these many years.There are so many great employees at Co-Lin that have made my jobsuch a joy.”

In a separate matter, the college voted to eliminate its MachineTool Operations/Machine Tool Technology Program because of lowenrollment.

Dr. Ronnie Nettles, executive vice-president, said the programhad only four students this semester who will complete the programin May. No freshmen have enrolled for the next semester.

“Since the program has been an extremely important one that hasbeen an asset to the economic development of the district, I amalso recommending that we continue to work with the business andindustry community to establish an alternative program that willmeet the needs of our current economic community,” he said.

Copiah County School District Superintendent Rickey Cloptonquestioned whether the program, which teaches welding and otherskills, was not needed or simply out-of-date.

He said if the traditional program was just out-of-date, itneeded to be upgraded and offered again. He said he couldn’t”imagine a school without a machine shop.”

Nettles said retooling the program and offering it again at alater was a possibility that would be considered. However, “thereare probably some more advantageous programs we could look at

“Any time we terminate a program like this, we like to replaceit with something,” Nettles said.

No time frame on a potential replacement was discussed.