Latest News

Wages on the way up at SCF

MANATEE — The State College of Florida board of trustees on Wednesday approved a $50.76 million budget for the 2010-11 year that includes pay raises for full-time employees for the first time in three years.

Despite a lingering economic recession, the budget is up from last year’s $44.7 million. It includes federal stimulus dollars and a modest increase for student enrollment growth, officials said.

Personnel costs make up 69 percent, or $35 million of the budget. The percentage is unchanged from last year.

During a meeting of the board that oversees the college, SCF President Lars A. Hafner said enrollment has grown by 38 percent during the past three years and during that time, the college has maintained the same number of employees.

“For the first time in three years employees will receive a 3 percent raise,” said Carol Probstfeld, vice president of business and administrative service. “Our employees have borne the burden of a 38 percent enrollment increase and they deserve this.”

Probstfeld said that Florida, for the first time in several years, funded state and community colleges’ growth, resulting in a modest boost for the local college.

However, the state’s allocation to the college’s operating funds spiraled downward, with the state contributing 43 percent of revenue for the 2010-2011 budget.

The college, Probstfeld said, is no longer state funded. Instead, it’s state subsidized, which means that more than 50 percent of funding comes from sources other than direct state funds.

The college also is increasing tuition by 8 percent. The maximum state-approved increase is 15 percent.

Credit hours for in-state students are now $94.90 per hour, up $7.02 from the previous $87.88.

Out-of-state students will pay $357.90 per hour, $26.50 more than the previous $331.40.

Based on tuition increase estimates, school official said an in-state student taking 30 hours a year at SCF would pay $2,847. The per hour cost for an in-state student in the college’s four-year baccalaureate program is about $10 per hour more than for two-year students.

SCF’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. The budget approved Wednesday goes into effect July 1.

Separate from SCF’s college budget, the board on Wednesday also approved a $1.4 million budget to open a charter school in August.

Trustees last month OK’d almost $1.9 million for renovation of a building at the Bradenton campus to house the school. Remodeling is underway and slated to continue through the summer.

A charter school is a public school that operates autonomously from the local school district. SCF’s school will serve 132 sixth and seventh graders, officials said, and will eventually expand to handle grades 6-12, allowing students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate in arts college degree. Although there are other such schools elsewhere on college campuses, SCF’s will be the first collegiate charter school in the nation to operate a middle school on its campus, officials said.

Natalie Neysa Alund, reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7095.