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*SCC announces $1.65 million budget-cut plan

allcampus031210.jpg

SCC faculty member Karen Toreson asks a question during the
all-campus meeting, Friday, March 12, 2010. More photos

Next steps

  • State budget - A special legislative session is called for March 15 and can last from one to 30 days. The budget is top priority, but anything can be considered, including previously dead bills. Once a budget is passed, all colleges will be told their exact share of the reduction from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.
  • SCC plan – A variety of factors could affect the plan presented March 12, including:
    • A significant change in the state budget cut, up or down;
    • Personal choices by SCC employees;
    • SCC employees directly affected by the budget-reduction plan have the option to meet President Lee Lambert and/or others to discuss or present alternatives or additional information.
    • Ongoing discussions with faculty and classified unions
  • Comments
  • Communication
    • Committees: College Council, Budget and Strategic Planning committees will meet with vice presidents and other Senior Executive Team members.
    • All-campus meeting – Another all-campus meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., Friday, April 2, in the PUB Main Dining room to provide an update on SCC budget plan details and implementation. If needed, further all-campus meetings will be scheduled.
    • News postings as developments warrant.

Links

The painful process of implementing budget cuts for 2010-11 is underway at Shoreline Community College.

 

With the state Legislature missing its deadline and a final target uncertain, college officials on Friday, March 12, 2010 announced a plan to cut $1.65 million, falling within the hoped-for range of $1.3 million and $1.8 million.

 

“Based on the information we have, $1.65 million is our best estimate,” said SCC President Lee Lambert. “However, we think this plan may be able to stretch to about $1.8 million. If Olympia goes beyond that, we’ll have to rethink this.”

 

In the plan announced at an all-campus meeting, Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell outlined just where the cuts will be made, including cutting 24 positions. Of those 24, 14 are either currently vacant or are anticipated for retirement. The plan identifies 10 positions in which the current employees would go through the appropriate departure procedure, based on their employment category. Of the 10, four are classified employees, four are administrative exempt and two are faculty.

 

All of the employees directly affected by the cuts received the news from Lambert in private meetings prior to the all-campus presentation. “I just think it’s my responsibility to do that and employees have a right to hear this very difficult news from me and not in a public setting,” Lambert said. 

 

One of the bigger changes as a result of the cuts comes in the Center for Business and Continuing Education. The director position, two other currently filled positions and two vacant positions will be eliminated. Responsibility for the program will move under the Dean of Workforce Development.

                                   

“This is a very difficult move,” Lambert said. CBCE is housed off-campus in the Lake Forest Park Towne Center shopping mall. Lambert said the college will be looking for ways to either better utilize or reduce the cost of that space. “I’ve spoken with Lake Forest Park City officials and we will be in talks with mall ownership,” he said.

Vice President for Academic Affairs John Backes said that over the past three years, CBCE has been a net loss to the college on the order of $600,000 to $800,000. “This is not the fault of the staff, but we can no longer support CBCE as currently structured,” he said.  Backes said that the program residing in a small district and a failing economy contributed to the unfortunate status of the center.

 

Continuing Education is part of the state mandate for community colleges. Moving forward, Backes said SCC will look at alternatives later and will enter talks with Lake Washington Technical College about collaborating to provide continuing education programs across both college districts. Backes said that the collaboration would provide more than double what the current marketing area is.  Another possibility is to go after more contract training.  Some CBCE staff and programs will remain, including the Business Accelerator, a business training and consulting services program offered in partnership with the City of Shoreline and the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce.

 

Other organizational changes include moving the Technical Support Services department into Campbell’s area from Academic Affairs. A number of shifts will come within Academic Affairs in an attempt to even the workload on the four deans.

 

In addition, four director positions will be collapsed into two. In one case in Academic Affairs, Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language and Workforce duties will all go to one director. In the other instance, Enrollment Services and Financial Aid duties will be rolled into one.

 

While cuts are always hard, Lambert said the hiring freeze imposed by the Legislature in February made this effort particularly difficult, especially because the trend of budget cutting is expected to continue for at least the next two years, he said.

 

“The vice presidents spent considerable time trying to craft a plan that would look forward,” Lambert said. “With state revenue predictions, it made sense to make cuts in as strategic a way as possible. The freeze made much of that impossible.”

 

While the plan announced on March 12 is based on the information available, that information is also subject to change, Lambert said.

 

For starters, the Legislature missed the March 11 session-end deadline and Gov. Chris Gregoire has called a special session starting Monday, March 15. “We don’t think there will be significant changes to the overall cut for higher education, but until they pass a budget, we just don’t know,” Lambert said.

 

Then, while implications of staffing reductions have been considered, individual SCC employees may make choices that change how those reductions play out under contractual rights. Also, Lambert has said that any employee directly impacted by the cuts can come to him to offer alternatives or additional information that may adjust the plan.

 

“We think the plan is the best compromise, but if somebody offers a better idea, or has facts that we just got wrong, of course we’d take that into consideration.” Lambert said.

 

A number of questions were raised at the all-campus meeting, including why furloughs weren’t used to reduce costs. The Legislature passed a bill allowing furloughs, along with other options, to be used in lieu of layoffs.

 

“We looked at furloughs,” Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs Stephen Smith said. “The problem is, if we use furloughs and then the Legislature mandates them, it could be a double-whammy.”

 

Lambert added that he’s very sensitive to options that reduce employees’ salaries. “We have classified employees who could probably qualify for food stamps” Lambert said. “I want to be mindful of that.”

 

Faculty member and union representative Gary Parks pointed out an apparent discrepancy in the some of the numbers shown during the meeting. In checking later, Campbell found Parks was correct.

 

“Due to my transcription error, the financial impact on existing faculty positions held is $142,949, not the $226,608 as shown during the meeting,” Campbell said, adding that the slide available by hyperlink is now correct . “Consequently, the financial impact on vacant/retired faculty positions is $387,729, not the $329,472 that was shown.

 

“However, the overall reduction is the same - $1,648,603.”

SCC/Jim Hills

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