MONTPELIER — An estimated $571,000 of the first $8 million of the legislature’s funding for the transformation of the Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) granted at the start of Fiscal Year 2022 has been spent to date, according to Sharron Scott, the chief financial officer for the state colleges.
During a recent meeting of the VSCS Board of Trustees Executive Committee, held over Zoom, Scott updated the board about the work to consolidate Northern Vermont University, Vermont Technical College and Castleton University into a single entity — the new Vermont State University.
Only the Community College of Vermont system will remain an autonomous institution of higher learning under the VSCS umbrella alongside the new single VSCS university.
In her presentation, Scott noted that the legislature had approved $20 million to fund the transformation work over a four-year period. The first installment was made on July 1 of the fiscal year, in the amount of $8 million.
She said the second installment will come at the start of the next fiscal year, $7 million, and the remaining $5 million will be spread out over the ensuing two fiscal years.
Through the end of December, $571,000 of the first year’s transformation funds have been expended, not including costs for program optimization and capital work, which were funded from the general fund, as well as philanthropic funding from the Davis Foundation, and state capital funding for facilities work.
While just over a half-million dollars has been spent, the VSCS has earmarked nearly half of this year’s distribution for work being planned in the coming months.
“As of today we’ve allocated nearly $4 million dollars of the FY22 funds,” noted Scott, outlining how the funds will be used this year for transformation. She said it is expected there will be remaining funds which the VSCS will likely be asking the state for permission to carry over to the next year.
Scott noted the categories (silos) for the transformation budget planned and actual spending, which include: project management, academic operations, administrative operations, student experience, workforce development and unassigned, with the estimated costs for each silo both in the first fiscal year of the 4-year, $20 million state investment, and the overall estimates.
The most amount of money or about $8 million of the total funding is shown to be earmarked for student experience investment, while spending for academic operations will see the second-highest dollar amount, over $4 million, and project management the third-highest amount over the life of the project, more than $3 million.
VSCS Board Chair Lynn Dickinson asked about the expected carry-over funds, and Scott said she estimated $1-2 million will be leftover from the Fiscal Year ‘22 pool of funds, attributing that need to the “ramp-up” for the transformation work that has begun.
Scott said the ramp-up in the work to bring Vermont State University online is on target, but the spending is lagging about two months behind where she would have expected to be, resulting in less expenditure to date, and the expected need to carry over some remaining funds from this fiscal year’s disbursement of the $8 million year-one transformation budget.
To see the document shared by Scott during the recent special meeting of the VSCS Board of Trustees Executive Committee about the transformation budget, visit: