By: Eboni Walker
On Wednesday, Florida A&M Board of Trustees held a meeting discussing financial plans, budget strategies, new projects, mental health plans, and security plans for the next fiscal year.
One of the first topics on the agenda was the financial status of the school, “Another good, clean audit,” said official Amy Holmes. According to Holmes, by the end of the fiscal year the school will net $9 million. As of January, it is forecasted that FAMU will accumulate $4 million in excess revenues.
Budget Strategies was a major item that was on the agenda. Maurice Edington, Vice President of Strategic Planning and William Hudson and Vice President of Student Affairs presented a budget for upcoming plans during the next fiscal year. The two picked up from a previous meeting held in February, where Quality Enhancement Plan, law enforcement and mental health counselors were discussed.
The QEP consists of a five-year plan; both VIPs are looking for the financial committee to finance for the years it will accumulate to a total of $4 million dollars, dividing the money up $800,000 each year. Only $200,000 of the funds are currently secured and it is left to the Director of the QEP program to secure the other $600,000. The $200,000 will be specifically two salaries, including benefits.
Those positions include the new Writing Across the Curriculum program director and administrator support. These positions are considered the key positions of the program and the key elements to getting it started. “The WAC Director was the most pressing position we needed to have in place as a commitment to show the SACs committee that we were serious,” said Hudson. “So, the President allowed us the use some of the funds in order to do so.”
FAMU’s discussion of a mental health counselor plan began in 2016. Considering the many University shootings that are mental health related, the Board has now made this plan a main priority. As of their last meeting, there was money in the budget for this plan. A legislature budget request was created to present which was altered since September in order for it to be a “three-year process that was cost effective,” upon President Robinson’s request.
“We need be out front with this thing,” said President Robinson, “because we may look at the numbers but the challenge and the threat to us on these campuses and the stress from these young folks comes close to what we are facing or going to have to face, so I understand being fiscally responsible but we should not cut corners.”
For the first year of this plan, the funding is taken care thanks to vacant lines, and student affairs and the student health center. “However, for the subsequent years, Dr. Nickerfields began, as this is a priority of the Board of Governors and the state of Florida, we are going to do a budget request for the funding for the next years.”