For its 2019-20 budget, Dodge City Community College officials have indicated it has gone to a 5% surplus from a 5% deficit.

The surplus comes after a year where DCCC renegotiated vendor contracts, job duties and salaries, according to a news release from DCCC.

"It’s critical that we are wise stewards of the people’s money," DCCC president Dr. Harold Nolte said in a news release. "We have made great additions to our faculty and brought in experienced, talented staff and administrators to support them.

"We are dramatically improving the quality of education offered at Dodge City Community College while dramatically improving the college’s budget."

According to DCCC, Ford County taxpayers paid $2 million less than the previous fiscal year to DCCC employees for salaries while the number of full-time faculty increased by four instructors from the previous year.

"We’re operating efficiently," Nolte said. "In fact, for this school year we have more instructors but we are operating with a smaller staff overall."

Salary costs also declined significantly with total salaries dropping from roughly $10.5 million in 2015 to $7.8 million in 2018. The cut came from the college going from 10 administrators in 2015 to six now.

According to DCCC human resources director Kristi Ohlschwager in a news release, labor savings is not due to jobs cuts.

She said an analysis is conducted when an employee leaves a position. Rather than instantly hiring a replacement, college officials scrutinize the job duties, requisite education or experience, and salary comparisons, among other factors.

Using data-driven decisions to decide how to move forward, Ohlschwager said they use the data compiled to dissect a position to ensure the job description matches what is actually happening in the job.

"We have looked at every position through a needs evaluation," Ohlschwager said. "We’re not just replacing a position just because it’s open.

"It’s just making educated decisions.

"Rather than just doing something because that’s how we always do it, I’m asking, ‘Why?’"

DCCC chief financial officer Dr. Glendon Forgey added, "It’s a matter of making efficient use of all the college’s resources.

"Our HLC rating improved based on the June 18 financial statements.

"I expect that to continue. I expect we will have a good surplus for the fiscal year that just ended."

The surplus has added to campus improvements such as additional security cameras and lighting, resolving flooding issues within the Child Development Center facility, repairs to the old gym wall and with refinancing of bond issues, saving taxpayers close to $500,000.

The refinancing improved the DCCC cash reserve ratios which kept the mill levy from increasing.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com