MCC's Budget Balances Limited Funds, More Students

(Bradenton, Fla., June 25, 2008) - A  $41.5 million operating budget, up from last year's $40.6 million budget due to enrollment growth, was approved by Manatee Community College (MCC) trustees at a June 25 meeting. With double-digit enrollment increases at MCC, the college faces the challenge of providing quality educational services to more students with $1.6 million less in state funds this year.

MCC President Dr. Sarah H. Pappas described this year's budget process as the most difficult and challenging during her tenure. Summer enrollment at MCC is up nearly 14 percent in load hours, double the state average.

"Contrast the enrollment increase to the per FTE funding, which is at its lowest level since the 1988-89 academic year when adjusted for inflation," said MCC Vice President of Business and Administrative Services Dr. Carol Probstfeld.  

Approximately 53 percent of revenue for MCC's operating budget comes from the state with remaining funds coming largely from student fees and tuition. Tuition and other student fees will provide 44 percent of the college's revenues, as opposed to 38 percent last year.

A 6 percent load-hour increase in tuition is included in the state's community college funding package. With in-state tuition at MCC rising from $73.82 per hour to $78.24, a student taking 15 hours in a term will pay $66.30 more. Based on current estimates of tuition raises at Florida public universities, MCC's per term cost still is $773.25 less than the average university tuition. Out-of-state students at MCC will pay $294.32 per load hour, up from $271.04. Tuition at Florida colleges is still among the lowest in the nation.

The budget supports the implementation of an online degree program, enhanced network speed and security, the introduction of a comprehensive portal solution and capital improvements.

State Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) funds, which are separate from the general operating budget, provide $7.9 million for construction of a Medical Technology and Simulation Center at MCC Lakewood Ranch; $4.6 million for planning and partial renovation of the MCC Bradenton Library; and $2.7 million for general renovation, remodeling and deferred maintenance projects collegewide. 

Personnel costs absorb 70 percent of the budget. Despite state budget cuts, no layoffs are planned at MCC. In lieu of an annual percentage increase in salary, a $500 addition to employees' base salaries, contingent on state funding and enrollment, is planned in January 2009. If the college's performance goals are met, another $250 one-time incentive pay supplement will be paid in September 2009 to full-time employees with a prorated supplement for regular part-time employees. The college will continue to pay for health insurance for its employees, including an expected rate increase of 12 percent in January 2009.

MCC's fiscal year operates from July 1 through June 30. The budget approved by the district board of trustees is effective July 1, 2008.

Pappas reported on the status of a proposed School Board of Sarasota County (SBSC) science and engineering high school planned to be built in 2010 adjacent to MCC Venice. The current proposal calls for a new loop road and 200-space parking lot funded by the SBSC and an easement to the property provided by MCC. The academic partnership with MCC would include technology programs at the high school, dual enrollment classes at MCC, and a certificate at graduation.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan recently informed Pappas that two MCC proposals for federal funding assistance were approved at the first committee level. With full approval, MCC will receive $100,000 for the Medical Technology and Simulation Center and $250,000 for an emergency notification system using VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).

The board also heard updates on remodeling of the Music and Theater Building at MCC Bradenton scheduled to be complete for Fall term classes beginning Aug. 18. An updated master plan for MCC Lakewood Ranch was presented. A 25-member charette group played a key role in developing the ultimate plan, which includes three classroom and laboratory buildings, a centralized courtyard, and a multistory parking garage on 10 acres. The next phase is the second building, a new Medical Technology Simulation Center planned to open by March 2010.

The board recognized those who were attending their last trustees' meeting in their official capacities. With Pappas retiring, the June 25 meeting was her last as MCC president.  Named the college's fourth president in 1997, Pappas oversaw dramatic growth at MCC and has 40 years in Florida's higher education system.

"Known for her integrity, fair-minded management approach and data-driven accountability, President Pappas leaves an enviable legacy as a visionary leader," read trustee Julie Fogarty. "(She) has made an extraordinary impact here at Manatee Community College, inspiring excellence, success, collaboration, appreciation, progress, commitment, initiative and enthusiasm."

In addition to renaming the Professional Development Center at MCC Venice in her honor, effective July 2009, the board conferred upon Pappas the title of President Emeritus.

The board also recognized Dr. John Rosen, vice president of academic affairs, who retires June 30 after 25 years at MCC. Rosen knew all four MCC presidents and was recognized for his student-focused contributions to the college. In his earlier years at MCC, he held positions as dean of instruction, dean of academic affairs and provost of corporate and community development, then called Open Campus. Rosen helped develop a federally funded grant program to bring 21st century work skills into the classroom and was the first president of the consortium that sponsored the award-winning Manatee Educational Television.

Special presentations also were made in recognition of Fogarty and trustee Dan Miller, both Bradenton residents. Fogarty, whose term ended May 31, has been on the board since 1997. She originally was appointed by Gov. Lawton Chiles and reappointed by Gov. Jeb Bush. Miller, former U.S. representative from the 13th District, was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005. Time constraints and other commitments prompted Miller to leave before his term's end date of May 31, 2009.

Fellow trustees described Fogarty as a quiet board member whose background as a Spanish teacher gave her a unique perspective on students' needs and the importance of maintaining academic quality. They lauded Millers as a dedicated pubic servant who was a friend to the college while in Congress and on the MCC board.

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