Regents also approve next year’s budget
The leadership of New Mexico Military Institute formally signed an agreement to make it easier for NMMI cadets to study in a state in western Mexico and for residents of that state to attend NMMI.
The articulation agreement was signed Friday afternoon by Jesus Rosas, secretary of education of Sinaloa, Mexico, and Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle, NMMI president and superintendent.
“This will open many opportunities for students in both countries,” Rosas said. “We hope that this agreement will last for many years.”
Carolina Castro, director of International Relations for Sinaloa, also attended the Board of Regents meeting where the signing occurred, as did two new members of the board.
John Garcia and Cedric Page were appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in February. Garcia is a Vietnam War veteran who served in the U.S. Army and is the New Mexico District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Page is a retired university administrator, professor emeritus of the Los Alamos campus of the University of New Mexico and a former U.S. Air Force Academy faculty member.
Garcia and Page joined the other three regents — Brad Christmas, Tim Paul and Barbara Trent — in approving a 2019-20 budget with a 4% across-the-board faculty and staff increase.
Institute inks agreement
About 15 to 16 NMMI cadets are from Sinaloa, according to school administrators, with the agreement intended to increase that number as well as give NMMI cadets from the United States more study-abroad opportunities.
The articulation agreement will allow for the transfer of academic credits between NMMI and Sinaloa universities, and allow Sinaloa students to pay a reduced rate compared to other foreign students, although they will continue to pay the full rate for room, board and fees.
Grizzle explained that the agreement is the fourth signed with a state in Mexico. Previous agreements were signed with Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila, according to other NMMI administrators. Grizzle also said that there have been four generations of students from Mexico at the Institute.
“They do very well here,” he said. “We very much appreciate them being here.”
Brig. Gen. Douglas Murray, chief academic officer and dean of academics, said that the Institute began working with higher education departments and institutions in Mexico in 2012 at the encouragement of then-Gov. Susana Martinez, who wanted stronger ties with various segments of the country’s economy and culture.
He added that NMMI is continuing efforts to develop additional agreements with other states in Mexico and other countries in North America.
Col. David West, chief of staff, added that NMMI’s mission includes “global leadership,” and one of the ways that is accomplished is through formal articulation agreements.
Increased expenses in new budget
The 2019-20 budget to be forwarded to the New Mexico Higher Education Department for review includes $69.78 million in expenditures and $53.69 million in revenues. It also includes $5 million in current fund reserves, the amount NMMI strives to keep each year, according to Col. Judy Scharmer, chief financial officer.
The revenues include about $22 million from the State Land Grant Permanent Fund, the Institute’s largest source of funding, said Scharmer. She also said that the Land Grant funding represents an increase of about $300,000 from 2018-19.
The upcoming year’s budget, to start July 1, will increase expenditures by about $20.3 million over 2018-19 final expenditures, although it is only about $1 million more than what NMMI projected its expenditures at when it first developed its 2018-19 budget.
A major part of expenses for the upcoming year are $31.47 million for capital projects and campus faculties improvements, including $23.5 million for five major projects partially funded or completely funded by state bond money.
The three general obligation bond projects are the Cahoon Armory (gymnasium) renovation, the first phase of upgrading the bathrooms, or sink rooms, in the residence halls, and a major renovation of the John Ross Thomas (JRT) building. The severance tax bond projects include $41,000 for an automated back-up system for information systems and $500,000 for improved campus security.
The budget also includes a 4% raise for all staff and all faculty, which Scharmer said is intended to keep raises competitive but also place NMMI in the middle rank of pay scales for academic institutions.
Grizzle explained that NMMI does not receive the same type of state funding that other public higher education institutions receive, so the Institute did not receive the 4% legislative appropriations for pay increases for instructional employees as other universities and colleges did for the upcoming year.
Other expected expenditures for 2019-20 will be used to add a full-time administrative assistant position in the international programs office and a part-time data entry specialist to work with National Junior College Athletic Association statistics. The budget also includes increases for football scholarships, professional travel for deans, facilities maintenance or improvements, and alumni outreach and fundraising.