Salem Community College board approves $11.5 million spending plan

Sunday, April 03, 2011
By Michael Williams

CARNEY POINT TWP. - Salem Community College Board of Trustees approved an $11.5-million budget for fiscal year 2012, including a 2-percent increase over the 2011 budget, a tuition increase for out-of-county students, and possibly some adjustments to the college's staff, officials said.

The budget represents the fiscal year from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012. State aid for the year will remain flat, and funds from the county will increase by about 2-percent.

According to Dr. Peter Contini, president of SCC, tuition for out-of-county students will increase by $10 per credit from $115 to $125 per credit. Tuition for in-county students and those students employed within the county will remain at $98 per credit.

"Because of the uncertainty surrounding our state operating aid, the development of the fiscal year 2012 budget was challenging," said Contini, explaining that flat funding from the state left the college with a need to raise additional revenue.

"The decision to raise tuition is always a difficult one. However, given the current tuition rate for out-of-county students, we believe it was fair and reasonable to raise that rate for fiscal year 2012," he added.

According to Bill Clark, director of public relations for SCC, the increase from the fiscal year 2011 budget to the 2012 budget totals at $225,808. The bulk of the increase, about 68-percent, is allocated toward staff benefits and salary increases.

Contini added that adjustments to staff would have to be made to allow for program improvements and to meet the college's expenses.

"We built the fiscal year 2012 budget with the realization that more than two-thirds of the overall increase will be allocated toward staff benefits and salary increases," said Contini. "Budget reallocations will be necessary to enable growth in certain programs such as the Nuclear and Sustainable Energy Technology programs, and to meet operational increases without a significant increase in revenues."

Contini added that decisions on personnel adjustments have not yet been made, but will be discussed and acted on at the board's April 14 meeting.

The budget will also continue to have an emphasis on priorities set forth in the college's strategic plan, said Clark. The strategic plan focuses on productive partnerships in the community, integrated assessment, qualified and committed staff, effective resources, expanding technology, and a stronger connection to students.

SCC will deliver its fiscal year 2012 operating budget to the SCC Board of School Estimate on April 6 for approval.

The Board of School Estimate is comprised of SCC Board of Trustees Chairwoman Dorothy Hall, Board of Trustees member and Finance Committee Chairman Donald Pierce, Freeholder Director Lee Ware, Deputy Director David Lindenmuth, and Freeholder Julie Acton, who serves as liaison to SCC.

In addition to voting on the budget, the Board of School Estimate will also vote on SCC's request of $2.1 million for capital purposes through the State of New Jersey Community College's Chapter 12 program, said Clark.

The funds are designated for facility priorities, designed by Garrison Architects of Marlton, in the areas of handicapped accessibility, heating and cooling, electrical updates and fire protection, he added.


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