From Raleigh to DC: Wake Tech Legislative Affairs
State Budget Process Moves Forward
The House has voted to approve its version of the state's budget for the next two years. The House plan would provide for community college personnel salary increases in accordance with policies adopted by the State Board that can be used for (1) merit pay, (2) across-the-board increases, (3) recruitment bonuses, (4) retention increases, or (5) other compensation increases. It also provides full-time employees with 5 additional days of one-time bonus leave similar to what was granted in the previous budget. The House would provide $8 million in FY 2019-20 to fully fund short-term workforce training, increasing to $11.5 million in FY 2020-21, and would permit colleges to earn regular budget FTE for instruction offered to prisoners in local jails. The House plan would also create a 'High Achieving Tuition Scholarship Program' that would provide a full scholarship to high school students with a GPA of at least 3.5 to attend a community college for two years and then transfer to a UNC institution. The Senate will now unveil its vision for the spending plan, the two versions will be reconciled by a conference committee and then sent to the Governor for his consideration.
State Budget Development Process Begins
Hearings began last week at the North Carolina General Assembly that will eventually result in the portions of this year’s budget that deal with education. The Governor’s budget proposal was presented by the Office of State Budget and Management and proposes a salary increase for all state employees of $500 or 1.5%, whichever is greater. Additional recommendations include:
- Creation of a scholarship program to encourage students to complete an associate degree at a community college before transferring to a UNC institution ($2.6 million)
- Parity for funding of short-term workforce training programs ($11 million)
- Beginning of modernization of community college system-wide computer infrastructure ($15 million)
- Establish 2 advanced analytics positions at System Office
- Funding for Multi-Campus Centers, including Wake Tech RTP, Forsyth Tech, Guilford Tech, and Richmond
- Increase funds for NC Career Coaches program and adjust local matching requirements based on economic tier status of counties
Trump Administration Proposes Federal Budget Cuts
The Office of Management and Budget today released the President's budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2020 and they include cuts to most domestic agencies, including Education and Labor, in exchange for increases in expenditures for the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security. Included is an overall 12% proposed cut to the Department of Education, including a 50 percent reduction in the Federal Work Study program and other reductions to TRIO programs beyond their current funding levels. The Budget supports the use of Pell Grant dollars for "high-quality, short-term" training programs, with the $416 million cost to be paid for by shifting priorities in required spending on the program. It's important to remember, though, that the President's budget is essentially a listing of the administration's priorities for the coming year and that Congress has the constitutional authority to create the nation's budget. Capitol Hill has actually increased spending in each of the Trump administration's two-year history.