We urge the New Mexico Department of Higher Education to reject the 2014-2015 budget submitted by the Northern New Mexico College Administration.

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We urge the New Mexico Department of Higher Education to reject the 2014-2015 budget submitted by the Northern New Mexico College Administration.

This petition had 760 supporters

We urge you to reflect on the Mission and Vision of Northern New Mexico College:

Mission: Northern New Mexico College provides accessible, affordable, community-based learning opportunities that meet the educational, employment, and enrichment needs of our culturally diverse region.

Vision: By the year 2015, Northern New Mexico College will be a regionally recognized comprehensive university offering quality student learning that addresses student and employee needs while maintaining the community college mission.

As a public teaching institution—funded by federal, state and local taxpayers’ dollars as well as the tuition and fees paid by our students—Northern’s duty is to serve students and our community. The 2014-2015 budget submitted by President Barcelo’s Administration constructs the balancing of our budget as the sole burden of students, faculty and Career Tech Programs. The Barcelo Administration has refused to publicly release its operating budget for review of possible budget alternatives. The necessary cuts for our public institution must reflect the values of our institution and our community. Cutting instructional programs, our Child Care Center and our full-time faculty are in no way necessary “choices.”

NNMC President Barcelo and her Executive Team are entrusted with providing a public service and paid with taxpayers’ dollars, which they are increasingly funneling upwards to growing Executive salaries and to away from the educational goals of our institution of higher education.  We urge you to reject the 2014-2015 budget submitted as none of the public stakeholders, the AQIP Committees on campus, nor the Board of Regents were given full information or ample time to consider the proposed program and faculty cuts. 

Cuts to our Career Tech Programs will result in a loss of critical community resources that help to move members of our community into the middle class—giving them access to business and home ownership and contributing to our local economy. According to a study by the New Mexico State Legislature, 90% of our graduates remain in our area and their net contribution to our regional income is $165.8 million.[1]

Cuts to our Career Tech Programs will result in cuts to programs that serve our U.S. Veterans, who have utilized the G.I. Bill to complete programs and certificates in Auto Body Repair, Automotive Technology, Construction Trades Management, and Radiologic Technology. Such programs have allowed them to expand their employment opportunities and to transition after their honorable military service.

In addition, we must not forget that Northern is sited in Española, where 35.9% or our residents live below the poverty line and where the median household—not individual—income is $36,563. Meanwhile, the salaries of Northern’s Administrators range between $90,000 and 200,000, plus monthly auto and housing allowance.[2]

Cuts to our Career Tech programs will result in the loss of seven full-time faculty members who have been valued members of our community. Further, we will lose our valued Childcare Center staff. These faculty members and staff have devoted their careers to job force training and to student support.

When considering the 2014-2015 budget submitted by NNMC's Administration, please be reminded that from 2012 to 2013, the amount dedicated to Student Services went down by $198,626; the amount dedicated to Scholarships went down by $117, 858; the amount used for Student Aid Grants and Stipends went down by $335, 025. While the amount spent on “Internal Service” increased by $486,076 and the amount spent on the Athletic Department increased by  $266, 538. [3]

Please be reminded that Northern’s Administration has overspent its budget for five consecutive years.[4] The increase in Administrative expenditures—including raises for Administrative salaries and the addition of several new Administrative employees—has resulted directly in cuts to courses for students, has resulted directly in cuts to instructors, has resulted directly in cuts to student services, and, if allowed, will result in cuts to our Childcare Center and our critical Career Tech Programs. It is clear: NNMC does not have budget crisis, it has a leadership crisis.

Northern's Administration has been beset with documented Federal grant mismanagement, has paid settlements for unjust retaliation against employees, and has lost between 45%-57% of its student enrollment (numbers from NNMC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Ricky Serna). Further, NNMC's Executive Team, including its interim Provost have been appointed rather than hired in the appropriate fashion for State employees and an accredited institution. Such practices harm the professionalism of the institution and endanger its accreditation. In the past year, both the Student Senate and the Faculty Senate have voted "No Confidence" in the Administration, and the New Mexico Department of Higher Education noted that NNMC had the most formal complaints of any New Mexico institution of higher learning.

We and our allies ask the New Mexico Department of Higher Education to require the Administration of Northern New Mexico College to provide the public services for which our community has paid. We plead for your intervention and we thank you for your efforts shepherding our college toward greater service to community.


[1] This study was done by the New Mexico Legislature in 2011 and released 2012, calculating the enormous community contribution of our programs (this would have been with largely AA/Career Tech programs at the time).  See online at: http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/handouts/ERDT%20071212%20Agenda%20Item%201%20-%20Northern%20New%20Mexico%20College%20Economic%20Contribution.pdf

[2] For confirmation of income data, please see  http://www.riograndefoundation.org/downloads/rgf_pr_nnmc.pdf


[3] Report of The New Mexico Office of the State Auditor, p 8. Full report available online:  http://www.saonm.org/media/audits/963_Northern_New_Mexico_Community_College_FY2013.pdf

[4] Report of The New Mexico Office of the State Auditor, p 42. Full report available online: http://www.saonm.org/media/audits/963_Northern_New_Mexico_Community_College_FY2013.pdf

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