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All-Campus Meeting Focuses on Budget

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If the deepening economic crisis forces layoffs at Shoreline Community College, employees could start being notified as soon as the week of March 8, 2009.

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More than 300 Shoreline Community College employees filled the Pagoda Union Building Main Dining Room on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, to hear that news and more from SCC President Lee Lambert and other members of the college administration.

 

“Why the aggressive posture,” Lambert asked rhetorically. “Our students deserve to know what kind of college we will be, what kind of schedule, classes and programs we will offer.”

 

Lambert outlined the factors contributing to the uncertainty that faces SCC and all state-supported colleges.

 

Lambert reminded those attending the all-campus meeting that the state Office of Financial Management, at the behest of Gov. Chris Gregoire, asked all community and technical colleges to plan for a 20 percent cut in the budget that will start July 1, 2009. “But for those cuts to be effective July 1, we will have to start now,” he said. “We will work the classified union, we will work with the faculty union.

 

“If we wait and make cuts after July 1, they would just be deeper.”

 

There are other factors to consider, too, Lambert said. The Board of Trustees is scheduled to decide on sabbatical requests in February and tenure awards in March. “They’ll want to know what the plan is before deciding,” he said. Other issues such as course listing in college catalogs and class schedules must be addressed well before July 1, Lambert told the gathering.

 

Lambert said the March 8 date for potentially starting a layoff-notice process is as soon as it could be done and still allow for process, discussion and campus involvement. He said the tentative timeline is:

 

?Dec. 8-31, 2008: Feedback from campus and constituencies

?Jan. 1-16, 2009:  SET creates a budget reduction draft for 2009-01

?Jan. 20-30:  Meetings with PSET, SBCTC staff to discuss draft

?Feb. 2-16:  Meetings with unions, Student Government and Budget Committee

?Feb. 17-27:  All Campus Meeting, private meetings with affected individuals; meetings with the Board of Trustees

?March 8: Implementation could begin

 

Lambert had to leave before the meeting ended to huddle with his peers from Everett, Edmonds, Cascadia, Lake Washington, Bellevue and Renton community colleges. One of the items that would likely come up at that meeting, he said, was the topic of cross-campus cooperation, collaboration and mergers.

 

“Last week, I received a call from Charlie Earl (SBCTC executive director) that (mergers) certainly could be a consideration,”  Lambert said. “It’s all about what? Service, access and affordability to students.”

 

Lambert also said that he and SCC Board of Trustees Chair Shoubee Liaw will meet later this week with Earl in Olympia and that all the presidents are scheduled to meet in Tacoma on Friday, Dec. 12.

 

“As I know more and am in a position to share, I will share,” Lambert said.

 

Vice President of Administrative Services Daryl Campbell reviewed the more immediate budget problem facing the college, cutting a state-mandated $1.044 million from the current year budget.

 

Campbell presented slides showing generally where the cuts will come with lapsed salaries from unfilled positions saving $583,000, transferring fund from state to local funding finding $117,000, the president’s discretionary fund and other PSET funds contribute $200,000 and the final $350,000 coming from a 20 percent across-the-board reduction in goods and services, travel, and hourly employees.

 

Campbell noted two factors in the across-the-board reductions. First, they are reductions not freezes and, second, they are aimed at what remains of budget lines with discretion available to directors on how to achieve the needed savings.

 

While there are a number of communication avenues for the campus community to give feedback, Jim Hills, interim special assistant to president for communication and marketing, said the college will solicit feedback in other ways, too.

 

Hills said a page on college Budget Committee’s site on the college intranet has a form for anonymous comments and feedback. In addition, old-fashioned suggestion boxes will be placed around the campus to gather comments. Both the Web page and suggestion boxes will include “decision points” approved by the Budget Committee and the administration to offer guidance for comments.

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