Mitsch Bush bill would eliminate red tape for Colorado Mountain College |

Mitsch Bush bill would eliminate red tape for Colorado Mountain College

— A bill sponsored by Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush would provide administrative relief for Colorado Mountain College, which currently keeps two budgets, separating two- and four-year programs at the school.

Colorado House Bill 1224 would allow the school to consolidate its budgets into one, eliminating “red tape” but not making any fundamental changes to the way the school operates, according to CMC Chief Financial Officer Matt Gianneschi.

Gianneschi said that when CMC gained approval for up to five baccalaureate programs in 2010, the legislature required the separate budgets to ensure CMC’s experiment in four-year degrees wouldn’t take funding from the state’s annual appropriation for the junior college.

“The legislature was saying to Colorado Mountain College, ‘pursue your mission to become an institution that offers four year degrees in your service area, however you’ll be doing it on your own dime,’” Gianneschi said.

Gianneschi said now that CMC’s four-year programs are accredited, the dual operating budgets are a bureaucratic exercise that’s “purely administrative.”

“What we are seeking through House Bill 1224 is to clarify that whether we get less or more money, the funds can be used for general operating of all programs,” he said.

Mitsch Bush, who was a social science professor at the college for more than 10 years, said the proposed legislation would allow the college to carry on its various programs without burdensome rules in place.

“They shouldn’t have to keep two sets of books anymore,” Mitsch Bush said. “It’s just a ‘clean up the red tape’ bill.”

Another component of the legislation will separate CMC’s existence on the state budget from Aims Community College. As the only two local service district colleges in the state, the schools’ budgets, though entirely separate, are coupled together as one line item on state financial documents, Gianneschi said.

“We’re not asking for any more money, just to be segregated from a fiscal standpoint,” he said.

Gianneschi said that while the bill doesn’t seem that exciting, it’s important for CMC and the communities it serves, like Steamboat Springs.

“We’re absolutely delighted that Rep. Mitsch Bush was willing to take this on,” he said.

The bill passed the Education Committee with unanimous support Monday and will now go to the Appropriations Committee.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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