BEATRICE – Southeast Community College is proposing a preliminary budget of some $318 million for the upcoming academic year…compared to just under $294 million the past year.  It’s a budget that SCC Board member Dr. Ellen Weissinger says is efficient, given the school’s ongoing efforts to modernize facilities at its three campuses.


"I think this is an exceptionally disciplined and restrained budget. You and your team are taking responsibility to find the additional costs that are required to have the faculty and staff that are needed, the facilities and operations that are needed. We're not going to ask the property tax payers for additional money this year. We're going to go find this money in our existing budget, and continue with another year's progress on our plan."


Under the SCC preliminary budget, the school’s total tax rate would remain at 9.37 cents per hundred dollars valuation. That includes a two-cent capital levy being used to help finance several projects across the SCC system. Community colleges in Nebraska are limited to a total levy of no more than 11.25 cents.


College President Dr. Paul Illich says the school is also focusing on fundraising as another source of support for projects.  "We really needed to come up with a multi-faceted approach to fund these projects. We talk about facilities, but they're really about expanding our capacity to produce the skilled workforce. The key to that is to have multiple sources...so with student fees, we're being very strategic. The capital fundraising, which is new to the college...we're starting to have some success there and communities are wanting to be a part of this."


In SCC’s 15-county service area, property valuation is estimated at about $66 billion, which is an increase of 6.5% from the prior year.


Southeast would set tuition at $102 per semester hour, along with $15 in student fees, per hour….a $3 per hour increase. The fees also help pay for improved facilities. Full-time enrollment at the college for the 2021-22 year was 5,751, down 2.3% from the year before.  College officials will be putting in priority order some expanded programs in the coming weeks. Final approval of a budget comes in September.


Meeting at the Milford Campus of SCC on Tuesday, the Board of Governors approved a program statement for the newly proposed Welding Technology Center at the Lincoln Campus…sending that plan to the Postsecondary Coordinating Commission for Higher Education, for consideration.