College Update: Valencia’s Budget for 2010-2011

Saturday, June 12, 2010

by Sandy Shugart
June 1, 2010

I have good news to share. First, the legislature is out of session as of a couple of weeks ago – always good news. Second, in spite of ongoing budget challenges due to the recession (next year is expected to be the toughest, and then we’ll see recovery in state revenues), the legislature recognized the extraordinary efforts made by community colleges to preserve access to the flood of new students in recent years and approved a very manageable budget for us. Not generous, but manageable. Third, as of Friday, the deadline for the Governor to veto elements of the budget passed with no action that would adversely affect Valencia. (You may have read in the news how others were not spared the veto…) So what does this mean for Valencia in the coming year, 2010-2011? Well, it means we can recommend a budget to the Board of Trustees later this month with the following elements:

– A 5% increase in tuition and fees (less than the state authorized 8%)
– Plans to provide for up to 8% growth in enrollment
– The addition of 22 new tenure track faculty positions
– The addition of 47 new full-time staff positions (some replace pr consolidate part-time positions)
– Up to a 10% increase in adjunct faculty capacity
– No change in the number of full-time temporary faculty positions
– A 10.95% increase in FRS contributions
– Up to a 10% increase in health insurance premiums (we won’t know the actual increase until late fall)
– A $200,000 increase in funding for professional development and travel
– A respectable “contingency” against any budget cuts
– And, with Board approval, a 3% increase in all compensation

In addition, and much to be celebrated, we achieved full funding of Building 4 Osceola! This means we can select an architect and Construction Management firm later this summer and begin construction in about a year’s time for an opening we currently project for Fall Semester, 2012.

Our team has never worked harder or more effectively on Valencia’s state budget issues. The Board of trustees has been especially effective and Dr. Bill Mullowney deserves particular kudos for his efforts.

Remember that we plan our budgets on a multi-year model and have already laid out our contingencies for 2011-2012, when federal stimulus funds will disappear from the budget and the state is unlikely to be able to replace them. You will continue to hear pretty gloomy forecasts of that budget year. I want to assure you that we have a strategy in place to manage through it with all of our principles intact.

So what does this budget mean for students and their learning?

It means that we have been able to buffer the budget impact on students by tempering the state’s authorized tuition increase. This, of course, also keeps “some powder dry” for next year should it be required. It means we are able to respond to our extraordinary growth of the past three years by trying to strike a thoughtful balance between adding needed new faculty and staff for the increased workload and recognizing that workload with a modest increase in compensation (at a time when very few other public employees will get any raises at all and many continue to face potential lay-offs.) And it means that our best work, efforts all over the college to implement changes designed to improve student learning can continue and grow.

None of this would be possible without the deep culture of trust, stewardship, and collaboration at Valencia that is everyone’s business. Thanks to all of you. Be assured, as revenues improve and the crisis in our community abates, we will all work together to restore resources wherever we can, to moderate enrollment growth to more manageable levels, and to keep faith with our shared commitment best expressed in our last strategic plan – Learning First.

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