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* Budget bills and feedback sessions move ahead

While the first set of deadlines have come and gone in Olympia on the way toward a state budget for next two years, discussions are continuing on how Shoreline will cope with whatever the outcome.

For bills to continue the legislative process, they needed to be passed out of policy committees by Feb. 23. Those that did move on are now in fiscal committees where they face more deadlines on March 7 and 10 to move out and over to the other chamber. Of course, as with all things political, there are exceptions; budget bills and other important funding-related bills are exempt. For more information about which bills moved and which bills didn’t, see the weekly legislative report from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

At Shoreline, on the same day Olympia was facing the first legislation deadline, the first in a series of sessions to gain feedback on preliminary recommendations for budget reductions was occurring. The brown-bag lunch in Room 1102 brought good questions and interaction, said Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell.

Today, March 1, a review and discussion of the preliminary recommendations is on the agenda for College Council, 2-4 p.m., in the Board Room. On Wednesday, March 2, the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee is scheduled to discuss the preliminary recommendations. On Thursday, March 3, an afternoon feedback session open to all is scheduled for 3:30-4:30 p.m., in the PUB Quiet Dining Room. See the feedback events calendar for currently scheduled opportunities.

* Preliminary recommendations start budget discussion

Budget process

General principles                      

  • Seek to maintain college program mix and mission
  • Seek to retain quality teaching and learning
  • Reduce in instructional areas non-critical for degrees
  • Strive to minimize FTE loss and maximize instructional and administrative efficiencies
  • Strive to maintain quality of support services provided to students
  • Must continue to meet fiduciary requirements

General assumptions                  

  • Reduction will be within range of $2.0 to $2.5 million
  • FTE target will be unchanged
  • Minimal capacity to sustain further cuts to administrative and classified staff
  • Minimal capacity to sustain further cuts to travel, goods and services
  • Investments in International Program and Virtual College, if any, will be funded from college reserves
  • Until further information becomes available, the Governor’s budget proposal is an appropriate framework for planning

Criteria                                    

Instruction

  • RIFs
    • Areas of low/declining enrollment
    • Programs with 4+ FT faculty
    • Areas with adequate PT faculty pool
  • FTE loss minimal
  • FT-to-PT faculty ratio
  • Outside accreditation

Student Success

  • Reduce impact on occupied positions by eliminating vacant or temporary positions
  • Re-evaluate position functions within student success and adjust based on operational and student needs
  • Availability of non-state funding
  • Reduce in areas with 4+ faculty/unit and/or availability of PT pool

Administrative services

  • “Mission-critical” support services
  • Services that should be provided to students and staff
  • Levels of service required to meet needs

President’s Office (HR, Advancement)

  • Legal, contractual and regulatory compliance
  • Dependable sources of non-state funding

Timeline                                    

Feb. 23-March 14: Feedback sessions

March 15-25: President’s Senior Executive Team reviews the feedback

March 28-31: Union notifications

April 4-8: Formal notification to affected faculty

April 4-15: Formal notification to affected classified and exempt employees

Strategic Planning and Budget Committee suggested questions for feedback sessions

  • What might the impact of the proposed budget cuts be on your job?
  • What might the impact of the proposed budget cuts be on your program?
  • In your area, what impacts to quality of instruction and/or student services from the proposed cuts might not be readily apparent to someone unfamiliar with your work, program and responsibilities?
  • Can you recommend alternative budget cuts to those proposed that would have less impact on your work, program and responsibilities?
  • Can you think of questions about the proposed cuts that might still be needed to be asked?
Links                                                 

While lawmakers in Olympia try to plan a budget for the state, Shoreline Community College is trying to plan a way to deal with that budget, whatever it may be.

“The economic indicators and the political winds are shifting, making it very hard at this point to say anything for sure,” said Daryl Campbell, Vice President for Administrative Services at the college. “One thing we do know is that our state funding will shrink, we’re just not sure by how much. We do have a starting point, Gov. Gregoire’s proposed budget. However, like everyone else, we also see the indications that cuts might go deeper.”

Waiting for a more definitive state budget picture is not an option, according to Shoreline President Lee Lambert. Reductions of the size outlined in the Governor’s budget will mean job losses at the college. Because of timelines stipulated in labor contracts, those processes must start before the Legislature is anticipated to finish its work if savings are to take effect by the start of the new fiscal year, July 1, 2011.

“Starting today, we’re asking the entire campus community – faculty, staff, administrators and students – to join the conversation in the coming weeks,” said Daryl Campbell, Vice President for Administrative Services at the college. “Work by the Senior Executive Team (SET), in consultation with deans and directors, provides a starting point for this conversation. These preliminary recommendations are by no means a pleasant starting point. Unfortunately, we believe they do give an appropriate sense of scale to the challenges ahead.”

The preliminary recommendations from SET use a variety of budget-reduction tools including reduction-in-force (RIF) for faculty members, layoffs of classified and administrative-exempt staff, shifting of some salaries to non-state funding sources, elimination of some existing but empty positions and combining some positions.

Based on the reduction identified in Gregoire’s proposal, the numbers of position losses in the preliminary recommendations by employee category are 18 full-time faculty positions, 7.5 classified positions and 4.5 administrative exempt positions. Employees will be informed of the identified positions, however formal RIF/layoff notifications will not take place at this time, according the Stephen Smith, Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs.

“We’re doing this now so that we can gather feedback, make any adjustments and still have time for contractual timelines,” Smith said.

While Gregoire’s is the only official budget plan on the table, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges this past week asked colleges to forecast impacts of reductions at higher levels. The Governor’s budget sets a target of 9.2 percent for 2011-12, rising to 13 percent the next year. The State Board is asking for impacts to a range of cuts that go as high as 13 percent next year and 18 percent in the second year. Campbell said that would take the current target of about $2.25 million for next year all the way to $3.4 million. The State Board’s deadline for feedback from colleges is tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 23.

“We can use our current set of assumptions and speculate what deeper cuts might look like,” Campbell said. “However, because of the short turnaround time and speculative nature, we’re not identifying specific positions related to the State Board request.”

Campbell said that while considerable work has gone into the preliminary recommendations, they are just that: preliminary and recommendations.

“There are many factors out there that could impact these numbers; decisions to be made that are outside of our control. We need to start somewhere and these preliminary recommendations are based on the information we have now,” Campbell said. “After receiving campus-wide input, watching what happens in Olympia and any other influences, SET will make final recommendations to President Lambert, who will ultimately decide on a reduction plan by April.”

* Higher-ed share of supplemental budget solution grows

Lawmakers in Olympia are working on two budgets, one for this year and one for the next two years. Unfortunately, it appears that the answer for both will be less state funding for Shoreline Community College and all of higher education.

On Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a laundry list of budget reduction measures for the current fiscal year that ends June 30. On the list is $25 million the state is pulling back from several financial assistance programs aimed at higher-education students. Of that $25 million, $13.14 million is coming from the State Need Grant program that helps students at community and technical colleges.

Later that same day, officials at the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges sent word of Shoreline’s share: $460,238. However, students won’t be left without the financial assistance. The supplemental budget also includes language directing colleges to make up the difference from local funds.

Despite the Governor’s signature, it isn’t clear whether or not that number could grow.

The reduction package falls $226 million short of the deficit projected by the state Office of Financial Management.  Lawmakers are expecting that deficit to grow after the March 17 state revenue forecast. “The March forecast will provide remaining information to complete the final supplemental,” Gregoire said in a statement.

Daryl Campbell, Vice President for Administrative Services, said the college’s Senior Executive Team would begin reviewing potential steps to meet the new reduction target. 

SCC/Jim Hills

SCC aims at $2.25 million reduction target

allcampus021111.jpg

 

Members of student government at Shoreline Community College, Huy Minh Nguyen, Robin Aranas and Ruby Kwong (from left) listen to SCC President Lee Lambert on Friday, Feb. 11, 2011, during an all-campus meeting.

 

Shoreline Community College is facing a $2.25 million budget reduction for the coming year and will unveil preliminary recommendations for how to get there on Feb. 22.

 

Links

“This is based on the Governor’s budget and information from the State

Board of Community and Technical Colleges,” Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell said at an all-campus meeting on Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.

 

The meeting had about 100 people in attendance with another 70 or so watching on webcast via Elluminate. “One of our assumptions is that the information we have will change, but we need to get started.”

 

Campbell also outlined a timeline and communication plan for when and how the college would arrive at a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2011.

 

The budget proposed in January by Gov. Chris Gregoire would mean a cut of 9.2 percent to Shoreline’s state-allocated funds, Campbell said. Gregoire’s proposal also includes a 10 percent tuition increase and 3 percent salary reductions for all employees. However, those items come with caveats, he said.

 

While students would pay the increased tuition, Shoreline wouldn’t see all of it. “Some we give back to the state and the amount we do get depends on the mix of students,” he said. “It’s the same for all colleges.” Still, the State Board assumes Shoreline would get about $800,000 from the tuition increase. “They’re wrong, our experience shows we’ll get less than that, but we’re using their number for now,” he said.

 

On salary reductions, while Gregoire calls for pay cuts for all, her plan specifically exempts faculty. Then, Campbell pointed out, the classified employees’ union is in negotiations now with the state over a host of items, including pay. Despite that, Campbell said that for now, the college’s assumption will be the Governor’s assumption: pay cuts for classified and administrative exempt employees. “That’s about $230,000 for Shoreline,” he said.

 

After those and other add-backs, Shoreline would need to find $1.17 million in cuts. Campbell said that in round numbers, that would be achieved with an $800,000 reduction in instruction-related costs, $123,500 from the administrative services area, $123,500 from student services and $123,000 from the president’s office, which includes the Office of Advancement and the Human Resources Department.

 

“Next week, the deans and directors will get together and look at the details,” Campbell said. “On Feb. 22, we’ll publish initial recommendations with the preliminary list of position reductions.”

 

At that point, Campbell said, the campus must become involved in providing feedback. “We do that by engaging in problem solving,” he said. “I ask you, starting today, to engage in the process.”

 

Campbell said that from Feb. 23 to March 14, there will be a series of opportunities to ask questions and offer solutions.

 

“The Strategic Planning and Budget Committee said it is important to go out and talk to people,” he said, adding that a calendar of the scheduled events would be published online and included in weekly budget-related communications. “And, while any feedback is welcome, the committee also suggested the kinds of information that would helpful.”

 

Among those questions are:

  • What might the impact of the proposed budget cuts be on your job?
  • What might the impact of the proposed budget cuts be on your program?
  • In your area, what impacts to quality of instruction and/or student services from the proposed cuts might not be readily apparent to someone unfamiliar with your work, program and responsibilities?
  • Can you recommend alternative budget cuts to those proposed that would have less impact on your work, program and responsibilities?
  • Can you think of questions about the proposed cuts that might still be needed to be asked?

Campbell said that following the feedback period, the timeline would be:

  • March 15-25: President’s Senior Executive Team reviews the feedback
  • March 28-31: Union notifications
  • April 4-8: Formal notification to affected faculty
  • April 4-15: Formal notification to affected classified and exempt employees

After all affected employees had been notified, Campbell said the reduction plan would be published.

 

At the meeting, President Lee Lambert also spoke about the importance of and challenging times facing higher education. "President Obama has said, higher education is critical to the future of this country," Lambert said. "But, due to the economic challenges, we're going to have to do things differently.

 

"One thing Shoreline Community College should be proud of is that through everything that has been happening, we've never compromised the learning of our students."

 

SCC/Jim Hills

Shoreline prepares for budget planning

All campus meeting    

An all-campus meeting is scheduled for 12:30-2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 11, in the PUB Main Dining Room. The agenda will include a presentation by SCC President Lee Lambert on issues and options facing higher education and information about anticipated 2011-12 budget reductions.

 

Budget principles

SCC's vice presidents and other senior executive team members have agreed upon general principles to help guide budget planning, including:

  • Seek to maintain college program mix and mission
  • Seek to retain quality teaching and learning
  • Reduce in instructional areas non-critical for degrees
  • Strive to minimize FTE loss and maximize instructional and administrative efficiencies
  • Continue to meet fiduciary requirements
Once again, Shoreline Community College officials are working to give definition to the future while surrounded by a sea of uncertainty.

 

“For the third year in a row, we’ve got to come up with a budget-reduction plan that is based on decisions that haven’t yet been made and are outside our control” Shoreline President Lee Lambert said. “To do that, just as we have in the past, we’re taking what information we do have and developing options to meet a range of possible alternatives.

 

“I know that isn’t very satisfying to a lot of people who want definitive answers. I’m one of those people. However, those are our circumstances and we have to move ahead to the best of our ability.”

 

What college officials do know is that Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed a budget based on significantly less money coming to state government and therefore, less to the college.

“We are using the Governor’s budget as the base for our assumptions,” Lambert said. “Until the Legislature acts sometime later this spring, that’s the best information we have to go on.”

 

That budget pins Shoreline’s target number at about $1.8 million. However, that is likely to be pushed higher, according to Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell. A continued concern over the economy and the likelihood of an unfunded mandate on retirement benefits could mean Shoreline would need a plan for between $2 million and $2.5 million.

 

“Unfortunately, we’ve had a pretty good track record of anticipating where we’d actually end up,” Campbell said.

 

Lambert said that waiting for definitive word from Olympia just isn’t possible. “If we wait, we won’t have enough time to implement reductions by the start of the new budget cycle on July, 1, 2011. Waiting just means we’d eventually have to cut more.”

 

In preparation to recommend a range budget options, the college vice presidents and others have reviewed the extensive previous budgeting work and spoken with deans, labor representatives and the school’s Strategic Planning and Budget Committee, which includes members from all campus employee groups.

 

“My goal is that at the Feb. 11 all-campus meeting, we can share in broad terms the potential impacts of possible reductions,” Lambert said. “Between then and March 1, we will get input from across the campus and hopefully gain definition to at least some of the variables.”

 

Lambert said he wants a plan by March 1 to show the campus. “Even though I’m sure there will be variables that change things, we need a starting place,” he said. “Then, we can get feedback, make any needed adjustments and move ahead in thoughtful and respectful ways and still make the July 1 deadline.”

 

Lambert said he understands how hard it is to start a process that will likely change during the implementation. “As difficult as it is, as information changes, and I’m sure it will, we would still be able to pull back if the situation improves,” he said. “However, we can’t accelerate those processes.”