The current state of the Shoreline Community College budgeting process is much like the proverbial duck on a pond, in a storm, maybe a big storm: Not much to see on top, but furious paddling below.
- Jan. 30, PSET planning finished.
- First week of February, discussions with union representatives.
- Feb. 1-20, discussions with State Board of Community and Technical College officials, Budget and Strategic Planning committees and PSET.
- Feb. 20, all-campus meeting to present budget-plan overview.
- Feb. 23-27, private meetings with potentially affected individuals .
- March 6, all-campus meeting to present budget-plan details.
- May 22, a tentative all-campus meeting.
College officials say the work put forth in a timeline in January is proceeding and that they are forming a plan that will be shared at an all-campus meeting at 12:30 p.m., Feb. 20 in the PUB Main Dining Room. While much remains to be done, SCC President Lee Lambert did update College Council members at their Feb. 3 meeting.
Lambert said that the vice presidents met the Jan. 30 self-imposed deadline to share with him proposals for potential budget cuts in their respective areas. The VPs met again Feb. 2 and the full President’s Senior Executive Team got together Feb.3 to review the work. On Feb. 4, Budget Committee members heard a report from Daryl Campbell, Vice President for Administrative Services, on the general outline of the proposals.
Lambert told the College Council that in reviewing the work, it became evident that trying at this point to precisely meet specific percentage targets didn’t make too much sense. Lambert noted that virtually every factor that could impact the budget is in play, including the worsening national and state economic pictures, the ongoing legislative debate and the demands being placed on higher education. The only thing that does seem certain is that enrollment targets won’t go down along with the state funding, he said.
“We said we’d be looking at 10, 15 and 20 percent plans,” Lambert said. “Right now, we’re probably somewhere between 10 and 15 percent, maybe closer to 10. We’re not spending too much time on 20 percent. I don’t think anyone in the state is doing that.” Lambert cautioned that should circumstances change and 20 percent become the target, the required cuts “would just devastate the college, devastate the entire system.”
Because of the potentially changing percentage target, total cuts presented in dollar amounts will be part of the presentation to the campus. “We’ll be in the general range of the percent targets, close enough to adjust if necessary,” he said.
Lambert noted that all the proposals being considered include flexibility.
“We’ve starting talking to the unions, faculty and classified, and the state board,” Lambert said. “Through those discussions, it could be that what we have now won’t be what we’ll have when we get closer to the Feb. 20 all-campus meeting. One thing I want to make clear though: All areas, faculty, classified and other staff will feel the impacts. I’ve heard that some are concerned that one area or another won’t feel this. We’ll all feel this.”
Lambert also said that the proposals address the points of consideration (see story below) developed through the Budget Committee process. Also, all comments submitted in suggestion boxes around campus and through the Budget Committee’s intranet site were transcribed, reviewed and considered by PSET members.
“I think it showed that in many cases, people here on campus and these proposals are on the same page,” Lambert said. Suggestions dropped in the boxes and posted to the intranet site are being gathered and made available to PSET members.
Faculty member and union representative Karen Toreson said, “I appreciate the candor and appreciate that you’ll be using dollar amounts, sometimes it’s a little hard to deal with percentages.”
For the next two weeks, Lambert said the timeline will continue to unfold toward the Feb. 20 all-campus meeting, including talks with union representatives, state board staff, PSET and the Budget and Strategic Planning committees.