A Critique of MCC’s Financial Path

This arrived from a friend of McHenry County Blog.  It appears that McHenry County’s nursing home isn’t the only taxing entity that is squirreling money away.  (See “Continued Over Taxation for Valley Hi in County Budget.”)

McHenry County College continues to generate massive surpluses every year.

Over the last 5 years MCC has accumulated just over $30 million in surpluses.

Even though the number of credit hours continues decline in each of the last 3 years, Operating Expenses continue to increase every year.

In 2011, MCC delivered 160,351 Credit Hours at a cost of $51.0 million.

This past year, MCC delivered only 142,811 Credit Hours at a cost of $60.6 million.

In only 3 years, MCC’s Operating Cost/Credit Hour has gone from $318/Hour to $424.40/Hour which represents a cost increase of 33.4% in only 3 years.

How is it possible that Credit Hours continue to decline, but Operating Expenses continue to increase?

Is it fraud?

Managerial incompetence?

Willful negligence?

Lack of Board oversight/direction?

Except for the new Student Trustee Justin Peters, the players remained the same until the end of the meeting when Tom Wilbeck resigned.

Except for the new Student Trustee Justin Peters, the players remained the same until the end of the meeting when Tom Wilbeck resigned.  Willbeck was replaced by Michael Smith.

All of the above?

To see how egregious the overspending actually is, just imagine if they held the cost/hour flat from 2011 to 2014 (which should not have been hard to do).

At $318/hour, MCC would have only spent $45.4 million not $60.6 million for a difference of $15.2 million!

This little quick exercise demonstrates the massive spending problem MCC has.

Until the Trustees get serious about exercising their fiduciary responsibility by initiating spending controls in a declining enrollment environment, they have no moral ground to stand on by asking the taxpayers for more revenue.

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The analysis is excellent.

It takes me back to my time in the United States Budget Bureau in 1965-6. The Federal government had just introduced performance measures for all agencies. I remember the initials were PPBS. We joked that it stood for “Piss Poor Budget Standards,” because of their weakness in measuring performance. (They tended to measure activity, rather than output.)

Perhaps the MCC Board should require the cost per credit hour to be included in its budget as a performance measure each year.

And maybe the person who wrote the comment would send some contact information. We need people like this on elective bodies.


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