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ACCS board approves 2023 budget request, chancellor raise

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

The Alabama Community College System is requesting a 14.8% state funding increase in fiscal 2023.

The ACCS board approved on Wednesday the request that would bring the 24-college system’s allocation in the state education budget to $539.9 million.

The proposed increases include $31.5 million for colleges’ operations and maintenance and $12.4 million in capital improvements. There’s also a $6.9 million increase for career coaches within the system.

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education is expected Friday to vote on its annual budget request for four- and two-year institutions. It is required by state statute to come up with a higher education budget request each year.

The ACCS board on Wednesday also discussed, and will vote on next month, a list of legislative priorities for the lawmaking session that begins Jan. 11. Included in the list is a one-time supplemental appropriation for capital improvements and efforts to align ACCS prison education opportunities with the prison construction bill lawmakers passed this fall.

The ACCS board on Wednesday also approved a salary increase and three-year contract extension for Chancellor Jimmy Baker. Starting next Jan. 1, Baker, who’s led the system since 2016, will earn $383,000 per year.

Board member Llevelyn Rhone praised Bakers’ work in a recap of his recent annual review, including long-term planning and efforts to secure capital and legislative allocations for the system. Baker received a 4.97 out of 5 in his review.

“The board has complete confidence in the chancellor’s abilities as he continues to lead the Alabama Community College System,” Rhone said.

Rhone also said Baker’s salary had been “below market” compared to other community college system leaders in other states.

Baker’s contract is now through March of 2025.

Two new community college presidents were approved Wednesday. 

Kemba Chambers will lead Trenholm State Community College in Montgomery. Chambers is currently the college’s interim president and has held multiple leadership roles within ACCS. Jeff Goodwin, currently the superintendent of Oxford City Schools, is Northwest Shoals Community College’s new president.

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