Funding Prospects for FY2009 – Update
On Friday night, the Florida Legislature closed its 2008 session – sine die. The economy of our state is not conducive to funding at the level we enjoyed the previous two years. This will be one of those years we’ll talk about for decades to come. During the current year, we’ve endured two significant reductions in state revenues, while at the same time, experiencing explosive enrollment increases. Now, we will have to endure further reductions in state funding for fiscal year 2009.
We have been fortunate that our enrollment has grown—double digit growth has generated tuition revenue beyond our expectations, and this, along with excellent management by all of our budget supervisors, allows us to weather this funding storm. When I present a stark budget proposal to our Board of Trustees at the end of the month, it will be in excess of $1 million less than the budget they approved a year ago. For SFCC, that is very significant–about 5 percent of the college operating budget. Again, the key to a successful future, is good planning, frugal spending, and the cooperation of everyone at the institution looking for ways to keep the train on the track.
While the Legislature did not provide matching funds for scholarships and facilities for the first time in several years, the contributions we have received will remain eligible for match when the economy turns around. This is not the first time that matching has been delayed, and it most likely will not be the last.
One piece of good news for SFCC is the additional funding received for the renovation of the SFCC Auditorium. The Legislature approved the additional $4.1 million we were expecting and, along with the $2 million we received last year, this gives us $6.1 million from the state. We will continue to raise local funds for this exciting and important project.
We have to remember that our highest priority is our students, making sure we have the faculty we need to teach the classes they need and making sure that we have the staff, equipment, supplies, and facilities to support our faculty in meeting our mission. There will be no frills in 2008-2009, but we’ll keep the doors open and find a way to help our students achieve their goals.