Local News

SFSC approves one-time employee pay adjustment

— South Florida State College’s full- time faculty and staff members will receive a one-time salary adjustment in December as the college’s state funding increases less than 1 percent.

The college’s 2014-15 budget, which the Board of Trustees approved Wednesday, includes a “non-recurring salary adjustment for all eligible full-time employees in December.”

The adjustment will be $500 for each eligible full-time faculty and $400 for each eligible full-time administrative, professional and career service employee, according to the budget, which notes that the college’s salary schedule does not provide an annual “step” increase or any other automatic annual adjustment for employees.

Board of Trustees Chairman Joe Wright said Thursday that the college will pay for the anticipated increase in employee health insurance.

“It’s a clean budget,” he said. “We don’t really have additional money coming in from the Legislature in a meaningful way.”

The college will receive an additional $133,231, but that includes $55,166 to cover additional costs related to the Florida Retirement System, leaving $78,065 in new state funding for annual operating costs.

But, despite the small funding increase, Wright said, “We need to stay invested in our people because our employees are our biggest asset.”

There is a realization that the overall economy will have to improve before the college receives additional resources, he noted.

Wright is optimistic about the college’s enrollment.

“We hope that we are on the verge of seeing some real increase in enrollment growth,” he said. “We have actually budgeted the cost for that enrollment growth, but we really didn’t budget the income for that.”

The budget shows a projected 2.94 percent enrollment increase from 2014 to 2015 after five years of declining enrollment, but Administrative Services Vice President Glenn Little explained that most of that falloff in enrollment was due to legislative changes related to adult education.

The changes required some fees and higher out-of-state fees for those who don’t meet the Florida residency requirements, which has driven some people away, he said.

But there is a bill going to Gov. Rick Scott that would eliminate that requirement, Little said. “We are hoping that will increase our FTE [enrollment] even more dramatically over the next couple of years as those students start coming back.”

Enrollment is measured in the number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) students.

The college’s FTE peaked at 2,887.6 in 2010. The 2014 FTE is 2,227.7 and is projected be 2,293.15 in 2015.

The 2014-15 personnel budget includes the following:

A temporary reduction of one full-time faculty position (auto collision/repair at the DeSoto County campus) for the upcoming year due to retirement and the need to increase student enrollment within the program.

Replacement of two faculty who left during the 2013-14 year (nursing and computer Networking).

An increase of two new full-time faculty for the two new baccalaureate degree programs, which begin in the fall term: bachelor of science degrees in elementary education and nursing.

The budget notes that, as requested by Scott, the Legislature approved no tuition increase for the Florida college system.

The 2014-15 budget, with total operating expenses of $22,688,396, runs from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.


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