Trustees Adopt 2013-14 Budget
On May 22, the SFSC District Board of Trustees adopted a budget for next year. During the workshop, I described the budget development process as difficult and confusing. Difficult, because certain expenses are increasing beyond our control, and there are insufficient revenues to support many new initiatives. As everyone knows, this is not a unique outcome. Confusing, because complicated legislation and conflicts between the legislature and the governor caused last minute changes to our budget proposal. Nevertheless, we have a budget that allows us to continue our core mission and to serve our students and our communities.
While the overall state appropriation for the Florida College System increased by $52 million (4.9 percent), only $13.3 million of that is actually distributed through the allocation model to the 28 colleges in our system. The larger share of the appropriation covers mandatory Florida Retirement System (FRS) employer contributions. Additionally, the appropriation included an equalization of funding for certain colleges experiencing significant growth over the last several years. Also, six colleges received funding for special projects. Finally, there was a relatively small appropriation for performance-based funding for satisfactory completion of industry certification in a select few technical programs. The legislature approved significant changes to dual enrollment funding, and we are still analyzing the impact of this. Fortunately, our worst fears regarding developmental education were not realized, but we have some work to do in this area, as you know.
Our SFSC state appropriation increased by $584,336, or 3.9 percent, over last year. Unfortunately, little of this increase is discretionary. Fully, $362,000 pays for an increased FRS employer contribution, and another $126,000 funds a new agricultural program partnership. The remainder covers anticipated insurance and utility rate increases, among other typical expenses.
Further compounding the difficulty of this budget, our federal Carl Perkins allocation for vocational programs was cut by 31 percent. In past years, these funds provided equipment and paid faculty salaries in certain technical programs. Fortunately, we have sufficient funds from other sources for the equipment allowing us to absorb this reduction without significant consequences.
Perhaps the only good news to us is that PECO (Public Education Capital Outlay) funding provided us with $603,263 to be used for facility maintenance, equipment repair, and safety improvements at our campuses and centers. We were not sure of any of this funding until rather late in the legislative session.
With the governor’s veto of the 3 percent tuition increase passed by the legislature, our overall revenues for the coming year increased by only 2.64 percent. See the paragraph above to understand how small this increase actually is. By making certain reductions in our expenses (tightening our proverbial belts), the trustees approved a 2 percent salary increase for eligible employees in the budget. It isn’t much, and we certainly wish it could have been more.
Those of you interested in all the details of the budget and a complete listing of projects and initiatives for the coming year can find it on the SFSC website at http://www.southflorida.edu/_documents/_iContent/trustees/Meeting%20Packets/2013/11%20-%202013%20Budget%20Workshop.pdf.
As I said, this was a difficult and confusing budget year, but we have the necessary resources to continue the efforts we make on behalf of our students.
Thank you for your cooperation and your understanding.