Budgets are more than numbers; they are a reflection of an organization’s values. When planning TCC’s budget, we have always prioritized areas that reflect our core values of preserving access for students, providing for core academic and student support programs, protecting our employees and maintaining our commitment to the service district, especially Gadsden and Wakulla counties. But first and foremost, a budget must be balanced.
You may recall that last year’s budget came in the wake of a $2.9 million cut in state appropriation. We did not see those cuts restored this session unfortunately, nor did we receive any additional project funding. However, though we don’t yet have the exact performance funding amount for the current year, based on the criteria we do expect to see our individual college investment returned. And while we have not been able to raise tuition, we did experience a small increase in enrollment this past summer.
At the June meeting, the District Board of Trustees approved the College’s operating budget for fiscal year 2018-19. Our team worked hard to ensure it was balanced and prioritized funding of programs that directly support student success and our values.
Our planned expenditures, which total $61.2 million, can be grouped into, 1) personnel costs, 2) operating costs, and 3) capital outlay. Here are some things to note for each area:
- The College has absorbed more than $1 million in retirement system increases and $1.7 million in health insurance increases since 2012. While we will not be able to offer a pay raise to employees this year, as part of bargaining with our faculty union we have offered them the 2% raise that was given to everyone else in 2016-17.
- One of the larger new expenses in this category are waivers for student tuition, which we remain committed to providing as a valuable means of accelerating student completion. In fact, the Board approved our initiative to provide tuition waivers for active duty military members as part of our continued commitment as a military-friendly school. Other new costs include things like the expansion of the nursing program to meet local workforce demand and the growing needs of the county service centers and institutes.
- Regarding our infrastructure, our facilities team has put together the Capital Improvement Plan and spot surveys and are prioritizing renovations and improvements based on need and impact.
And finally, I’m happy to say our fund balance, which is required by state statute to remain above 5% of the projected general fund revenues during the current fiscal year, is appropriate and healthy at 8.4%.
By directly investing in our students, renovating learning spaces, acquiring new technologies, funding support services and spending a higher percentage on instruction than most other colleges in Florida, we continue to demonstrate our focus on student success. TCC has been and will continue to be committed to the academic excellence and student success that have been this College’s hallmarks for more than a half century.