Archive for the ‘budget’ Category

St. Petersburg College (SPC) President Bill Law and multiple SPC students gathered on Tuesday, May 23 to speak about the impacts of budget cuts imposed by the Florida state Legislature.

Community-College-Budget-CutsThe Legislature’s 2017-18 budget includes a $25 million reduction in funding for the Florida College System’s 28 community colleges, which includes a budget reduction of $1.8 million in funding for SPC.

Reduced funding may result in fewer class offerings and a decrease in the scope of student support measures like tutoring and integrated career and academic advising. Both could cause a delay in students finishing their degrees. The move comes at a time when community college enrollment in Florida has dropped due to an improved economy, which has already caused a decrease in tuition revenue.

“Delaying that graduation makes life very difficult for everyone. When we are in the middle of a recession, enrollment peaks. When people can’t find jobs, they come back to college.” Law said. “When money is coming back to the state, it’s hard for us to understand why the state wouldn’t find a way to put a few dollars in the Florida College System and keep us whole – keep us moving forward and let us do the good work we do to serve Pinellas County.”

Law and students urged Florida Gov. Rick Scott to veto the budget cut.

“Governor Rick Scott should veto the budget items affecting community colleges and send it back to the Legislature to have $25 million in cuts for community colleges restored for the school year of 2017-18,” said Tracy Pham, 16, Vice President of the Student Government Association on the college’s Seminole Campus.

Students said they see an inequality in the funding provided to state universities. As the Legislature cut $25 million from community colleges, it is investing an additional $232 million into state universities in 2017-18.

All students cannot afford the cost of universities, said student Nathyn Montagano, 29. St. Petersburg College’s tuition is roughly half that of state universities in Florida.

“To ask us to put ourselves into six figures worth of debt before we even enter the workforce, I mean, that’s quite the burden you’re asking us to put on ourselves,” said Montagano, who serves as Parliamentarian of the Student Government Association on the Gibbs Campus.

SPC has worked diligently to increase student success rates through additional tutoring and integrated career and academic advising to ensure that students gain skills they need to find gainful employment.

“At St. Petersburg College, we’ve made major commitments to supporting our students in our learning support centers, where students can get tutoring and help outside of classes for virtually any subject that they study in,” Law said. “And our data clearly shows that students who are engaged in out-of-class support are more likely to be successful. Any reduction in funding that threatens those support systems is detrimental to students.”

Community-College-Budget-CutsSPC, which serves thousands of military veterans each year, is nationally recognized for its veterans’ services. Brandon Smith, 31, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and President of the Student Veteran’s Association, said he worries that the decreased funding may force the college to scale back its work with veterans who are eager to return to the workforce.

“We are a community college. We come out here and transition from the military and go to school and get a job in the community. Cutting funds is bad for business…If it’s bad for business, it’s bad for veterans,” Smith said. “From your EMS workers to policemen to trade jobs like plumbers, mechanics and anything else you need, you get them from a community college. And you want to cut that? I don’t think that’s a good idea at all.”

Fatma Hedeia, 55, President of the Student Government Association on SPC’s Clearwater Campus, said she feared a decrease in class offerings, which will negatively impact SPC’s large population of part-time college students who require access to flexible scheduling options in order to juggle additional demands at work and home. She implored Gov. Scott to send the budget back to the Legislature to restore the funding.

“Cutting the budget is really going to hurt a lot of us. Not just the high school kids coming to school, but the people who are older and trying to go back to school,” Hedeia said. “Governor Scott, you’ve got to veto this bill, send it back and make them redo it.”

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Representatives from student government associations college-wide visited the District Office to make presentations about the student budget to President Bill Law on Friday, July 20, 2012.

The college’s student government associations  (SGA) have earmarked money from their 2012-2013 budgets to support two plans for students, one that will provide personal counseling and another that will offer Microsoft Office programs for their personal computers.

Representatives from the college’s campuses outlined their budgets for President Bill Law, Tonjua Williams, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, and other SPC representatives at a meeting earlier in July.

Under Law’s leadership, the college allocated 25 percent of the funds from student activities fees. This is the second year student leaders have been involved in the budget process and the development of activities offered to the student body at various SPC campuses.

SGA associations are responsible for more than $1.3 million in the upcoming fiscal year, which is based on projected enrollment figures, according to college officials. That figure was divided among the student government groups based on the student semester hours at each location.

The college allotted each student government group the following amounts:

Allstate Center – $40,998

Caruth Health Education Center – $133,800

Clearwater Campus – $282,266

EpiCenter – Baccalaureate – $70,917

Seminole Campus – $196,622

SPC Downtown – $71,766

SPC Midtown – $12,665

St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus – $302,060

Tarpon Springs – $206,812

Each student government association allocated its funding to match the unique needs of its  campus and student population, student government representatives explained during their presentations. The Allstate Center, for example, opted to put  money toward one-on-one “lunch n’ learn” events with various charitable organizations in the community and a new barbecue grill for cookouts. SPC Downtown will spend $20,560 to help employ a student life assistant and $8,000 to educate students on cultural diversity through activities linked to Hispanic Heritage Month, Fine Arts Day and Black History Month.

Common expenditures for the eight home campuses involved funding for the BayCare Student Assistance Program and the Florida Community College Microsoft Partnership.

The BayCare program offers expanded support services and counseling for students in addition to training for faculty and staff in dealing with student concerns and assistance after incidents that would impact students college-wide. For example, students will be able to have three counseling sessions a year through the program.

The Microsoft partnership provides programs for students that they can load on their own personal computers. Through the partnership, students will be able to use the same technology platforms at home as they do at the college.

Both programs will launch by the start of the fall semester.

Before the presentations, Law spoke to student government members about the opportunity and responsibility that’s provided by managing the budgets. Law told the group they shoulder the burden of student leadership that can be both rewarding and frustrating. But, by overseeing budgets for the different campuses, they would be gaining valuable experience as well as helping benefit the thousands of students their organizations represent.

Dwayne-Ron Sharpe, 21, president of the Clearwater Student Government Association, said working with the budget was at times tedious and difficult as group members determined how to allocate the money. But, he said, that it overall was “a good process” and “a good learning experience.”

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SPC owes more detailed accounting of budget

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St. Petersburg College board of trustees okayed unfinished budget

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The St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees approved a $145-million budget for 2011-12 Tuesday, which includes a 3 percent increase in tuition beginning July 1 and a promise not to cancel any class once it has been advertised. It also includes dozens of initiatives focused on staff and student success.

In the new state budget, which is still awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s approval, colleges and universities are expected to raise tuition between 8 and 15 percent.

“We were able to limit the increase in tuition and allow our students to make academic plans beyond the next semester,” said Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President for Administrative/Business Services and Information Technology. “The budget also includes initiatives that are directly focused on student success.”

The budget focuses on improving the student experience, from registration to graduation. The areas identified are: Out-of-Class Support, the College Experience, Mission Focus, Community and K-12 Support, Technology Enhancements, Facilities Maintenance and Repair and Employee Development and Support.

Highlights of the budget can be found online in the Investing in Success document.

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