Hello Forsyth Tech Faculty and Staff,
It has been quite a busy week for me, but also very productive and I am happy to say, it was also a week filled with opportunities to engage with students, staff, and faculty. I hope each of you continue to enjoy a productive and engaging start to fall semester 2020. On Tuesday during Facebook Live, I heard from a couple faculty who said classes were off to a very good start, and I continue to hear good things from students I see on campus. For the most part, they seem to be upbeat and positive, and I am sure they are smiling behind their masks!
It is once again Friday and the end of another work week, and as we sign-off for the weekend to hopefully spend at least a little time resting and re-energizing, I want to share a few updates, including the latest information about the College’s State budget.
Clery Act Notifications and COVID-19 Cases
Over the course of the week, I heard several comments and questions surrounding the Tech Alert we sent out in the evening last Thursday, August 21. I know none of us want our evenings interrupted by news like that, but we did not wait to send the notification for two important reasons. First, we felt it was the most responsible way from a safety perspective, even though there was a very low risk that anyone would be exposed – safety is our top priority. Second, we are required by the Clery Act to provide timely notifications about any positive COVID-19 case that occurs at a campus location where no other cases have been identified.
Since we began to reopen our campus locations in mid-May after the stay at home executive order was lifted, we have notified you about positive cases of COVID-19 as required and to keep us all as safe as possible. Please be reassured, we have notified you about positive cases on our campuses where individuals may possibly have exposed others, and we will continue to be transparent and provide you with new and updated information as quickly as possible. If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We had some questions last week about Navigate and how we will use this important tool to help our students succeed. Our Navigate implementation teams have been hard at work rolling out different parts and functions of the platform over the last few months. Even more resources are being pulled together as we speak. Please check out this website for Navigate Forsyth Tech information and watch for additional resources and training to be added there soon.
This is a powerful student success tool to guide students successfully from orientation to graduation. This one software application replaces three other software platforms, ultimately making all our lives better. Navigate Forsyth Tech helps students register for classes, communicate and connect with us quickly, and navigate our processes more easily and seamlessly, and it helps us keep students moving forward successfully. We will work together to provide the training and resources students, faculty, and staff need to use this powerful vehicle to support student success. This is something new, and it will require us to learn a new application and new processes, but we are confident, it is worth our investment in time and resources because of the impact it will have on our ability to help more students navigate a pathway to success.
State Budget News
As you know, the North Carolina General Assembly (GA) has not passed a budget resolution for the new fiscal year. However, near the end of calendar year 2019, the General Assembly did pass a two-year budget for community colleges. Additionally, a few weeks ago, the GA appropriated $41.5 million from Federal COVID-19 relief funding to fund community college enrollment growth. It is important to note the COVID-19 relief funding is non-recurring dollars, meaning we will only get that money this fiscal year, unless the GA takes action to re-allocate it next fiscal year from a different funding source. Unless the GA takes additional budget allocation action, we will operate within the parameters defined in last year’s budget resolution and within appropriations of State dollars from the GA to the State Board of Community Colleges.
Last Friday, August 21, the State Board of Community Colleges approved Fiscal 2020-2021 budget allocations for all 58 North Carolina Community Colleges. Forsyth Tech’s initial State budget allocation totals $48,421,318. By comparison, our initial State budget allocation for last fiscal year (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020), was $47,647,159, so this year’s initial allocation is an increase of $774,159. (NOTE: The detail of our State budget allocation, and a comparison of this year’s allocation to last year’s allocation, is shown in the table at the end of this section.) While this is good news, a few factors will impact how much of that appropriation we will be able to spend.
First, because the State’s overall budget has not been finalized and balanced, we are still under spending restrictions imposed by the NC Office of State Budget Management (OSBM). We are only allowed to spend state funds on mission critical expenses and as approved by the College President at this time. Additionally, the NC System Office has indicated that we should hold at least 2% of our formula budget allocation in reserve, in case the GA requires us to revert budget dollars to cover State revenue shortfalls. So, while we did receive an increase in funding for the year, we will have to budget carefully until the State’s economic outlook and budget situation is more stable and final. In the meantime, we will begin the process of budget planning based on our current budget allocation, the OSBM spending restrictions, and the imperative to hold money in reserve for possible reversion.
Our new Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Kizzy Lea, and our Business Services budget team, Emily Hellard and Laura Vaughan, have developed a new budget process that you will hear more about soon. The process will increase transparency and distribute budget management to budget managers for each functional department or program, while also providing an opportunity for all staff and faculty to participate in the process of developing base operational budgets for their departments and programs. Once we have established base operational budgets and if the State’s economic outlook improves, we hope to be able to allocate additional expansion funding for projects that will advance the strategic goals and improve the success outcomes in our Vision 2025 Strategic Plan. Kizzy and her team will provide training for budget managers and department leaders will provide faculty and staff with more details about the new process and how you can participate soon.
Finally, while our current budget allocation does not provide salary increases or bonuses, and the spending restrictions imposed by OSBM do not allow across-the-board salary increases, the Governor released a budget proposal earlier this week that would provide additional funding for community colleges including a $1,500 bonus (see this link for more information on the Governor’s proposal). It is important to remember that at this time, the Governor’s budget plan is a proposal to the GA and the GA has not taken any action to approve or enact any of these recommendations. We will continue to follow the Governor and the General Assembly, and I will update you as the budget situation evolves. If you have questions about any of the budget information, please let us know.
|Formula Budget Allocations||FY 2019-2020||FY 2020-2021|
|Curriculum FTE Formula Allocation||25,441,346||26,242,881|
|Continuing Education FTE Formula Allocation||2,551,798||2,617,013|
|Basic Skills FTE Formula Allocation||1,026,123||779,935|
|Institutional & Academic Allocation||15,248,265||15,475,282|
|Total Formula Allotment||$ 44,918,885||$ 45,741,586|
|Categorical & Specific Program Allocations||FY 2019-2020||FY 2020-2021|
|Career & Technical Education Allotment (Federal Grant)||522,994||518,358|
|Child Care Support for Students||45,097||44,807|
|Small Business Center||121,998||123,891|
|Customized Training – Business & Industry Support||60,000||60,000|
|Innovation Quarter Lease Support||300,000||300,000|
|Total Categorical Allotment||$ 2,728,274||$ 2,679,732|
|Formula Budget Allocations||FY 2019-2020||FY 2020-2021|
|Total Forsyth Tech State Budget Allocation:||$ 47,647,159||$ 48,421,318|
Facebook Live with me – this Tuesday at 2 p.m.!
On Tuesday, September 1 at 2 p.m., I’ll be hosting a Facebook Live on our college’s Facebook page to talk with all of you, as well as Forsyth Tech faculty and staff. It’s a great time for us to be together to kick off the new school year and for you to ask any questions you may have. Hope to see you then
I Still Have a Dream
“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Early this morning when I was reading news and preparing for the day ahead, I saw an article about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, 57 years ago today. The line I quoted above is not necessarily the most often repeated quote from this iconic speech, but after seeing the article, I re-read Dr. King’s entire speech, and this line resonated with me.
We are certainly faced with “difficulties and frustrations of the moment”, yet, as a College community, we remain committed to our purpose. To me, that purpose is our dream; our shared and unwavering aspiration to employ the power of knowledge and the hope and opportunity education affords, to meet every student where they are, carry every student as far as they can go, and help every student achieve their dream.
Thank you for all that you do every day – you are making a difference!
Dr. Janet Spriggs