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McHenry County College receives audit; mulls bachelor's degree programs

CRYSTAL LAKE – The McHenry County College Board of Trustees received a positive audit Monday and a glimpse of potential future budgets with a decision on the tax levy looming.

Auditor Ray Krouse told trustees the college had a clean audit and increased total assets by $5.2 million to $113 million while only increasing liabilities by about $300,000. Krouse said many past concerns were addressed and the college did an excellent job of hitting deadlines and working with the firm.

“We received excellent cooperation the whole time,” Krouse said. “All the key dates were met.”

While the clean audit was good news for the board, financial officers for the college told trustees reserves would likely decline over the next five years if the board continues to freeze the levy. The board froze the tax levy last year and approved a budget this year that assumes a levy freeze.

Trustees will need to vote on the levy before the end of the year.

“I know some of you are going to say no increase in the levy no matter what,” college President Vicky Smith said. “... But if you don’t influence the revenue ... [reserves] could slide down to a point you don’t want.”

Future expenses for McHenry County College could include offering bachelor’s degrees in applied technology fields such as manufacturing and nursing.

Smith said 24 of 25 community college presidents voted to move forward with the idea at the state level, and individual boards at each community college could decide what programs they would like to pursue.

The programs would still have to go through the Illinois Board of Higher Education, which could decide how many programs would be allowed and at which institutions. But Smith said there is still a strong demand for more nurses and believed McHenry County College could be a strong candidate for a program if the board wanted to pursue one.

“There is nowhere for [students] to go to get a bachelor degree in manufacturing,” Smith said, noting private universities are often the only ones offering those programs. She also said trustees should remember additional costs would be associated with any program such as additional faculty and library resources.

The meeting also marked the official start of trustee Mike Smith’s service, who was appointed by the board Oct. 1 to replace Tom Wilbeck. Wilbeck resigned in August after moving out of district boundaries.

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