I want to inform you on the status of the 2017-18 budget that was presented to the Board of Trustees and approved today.
You may not realize that TCC faces a nearly $4 million budget shortfall this coming year as a result of a $2.9 million cut in state appropriation and a projected $864,278 decrease in tuition and fees revenue. The Florida College System had originally requested budget increases to offset rising costs and launch new initiatives that serve our communities. Instead, the state drastically slashed FCS funding by $30.2 million overall. Although Gov. Rick Scott line-item vetoed some portions of this year’s higher education legislation, the result still forces us to cope with damaging cuts.
First of all, let me say that we are not planning any layoffs or furloughs. While we will feel some financial distress in the coming fiscal year, we will not be laying any employees off. However, we will have to make other painful decisions.
To control expenditures, we will carefully review hiring decisions. All current job vacancies will be reviewed with limited replacement and reduced Other Personnel Services (OPS) opportunities. Travel and departmental operational budgets will be reduced and there will be no pay increases for employees this year.
Second, the budget approved by the Trustees today will continue to soften the financial impact to faculty and staff. We will be absorbing increases in the Florida Retirement System ($365,000) and increases in insurance costs ($120,000) this next year. Over the past six years, the College has already absorbed increases of $1.1 million in health insurance costs.
We will need to pull from our fund balance, which currently sits at 9%, and we will be implementing a variety of saving strategies.
Unfortunately since this impacts staffing, there may be longer lines for students, fewer classes to choose from and less available resources, but these measures allowed the Board to approve a balanced 2017-18 fiscal year budget in the amount of $60,894,057.
I remain optimistic that our legislative leaders have come to see the damage this session did to our colleges across the state and I believe we have a good chance to see our cuts restored during the upcoming session as well as open constructive dialogue about adequately funding our role in enhancing Florida’s economy.
TCC has been and will continue to be committed to the academic excellence and student success that has been this College’s hallmarks for over 50 years.