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* Aug. 31 may bring budget cuts

Leebrownbag072610.jpgNew cuts for the current budget year could be announced as soon as Aug. 31, according to Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert.

 

“You can’t wait until fall,” Lambert said at a July 26, 2010 noontime brown-bag meeting in the Quiet Dining Room of the Pagoda Union Building. The session was also Web-cast live using Elluminate, although it was not recorded.

 

The need and sense of urgency for cuts beyond those already made for the current budget came in a July 15, e-mail message from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. The message said that as state economic indicators continue to fall, expect an additional 4 percent reduction request from Gov. Chris Gregoire and advised colleges to plan for and make cuts as soon as possible.

 

At the standing-room only meeting, Lambert outlined the factors that would come into play in making reductions that are estimated to be between $800,000 and $1 million for Shoreline.

 

“About 85 percent of our budget is in benefits and salaries. With all the cuts we’ve made in recent years, a reduction of that magnitude has to involve people,” he said. However, contract language for faculty requires a 60-day notice for reductions in force and the classified contract has similar language. “Even if we start now, it will be two to three months before reductions would take effect,” he said. Any delay just means more cuts would be required to reach the same goal.

 

Administrative-exempt contracts generally allow quicker separation, but also include two-month payouts, he said. Lambert said he expects to announce some personnel reductions for administrative-exempt employees by Aug. 31, followed by classified employees and then faculty.

 

Lambert said strategies for budget cuts would likely come in these general areas, including:

  • Lapsed salaries from employees who leave and the positions aren’t filled
  • Tighter spending controls
  • Moving employees salaries off state funding support
  • Furloughs

“This isn’t new stuff, it’s what we have been doing,” Lambert said, adding he’s not a fan of furloughs.

 

“You’d have to consider a furlough as a permanent salary reduction,” he said. Lambert added that a college-initiated furlough strategy wouldn’t preclude the state from ordering more.

 

Among the questions raised at the meeting were:

 

Q- What about reducing the number of students served (FTEs)?

A- At this point, we’re not talking about a reduction in FTEs, although that may become a de facto reduction with not enough funding to serve the state-allocated number.

 

Q – How does the Five-Star Consortium and the state efficiencies bill figure into all this?

A – Discussions on both could occur this week in Tacoma where the presidents will be meeting Wednesday-Friday. Lambert said he’s concerned effects on expenses and revenues under both efforts won’t come fast enough to impact the current problem.

 

Q- The last time we had cuts, there was a plan. Couldn’t we just go back to that and make the next round?

A – Yes. While the hiring freeze changed the planning approach this last year, Lambert said the information and strategies discussed would provide a starting point for this round.

 

Q - Will departments and divisions get reduction target numbers from the administration?

A - “That may not work this time, we may have to take whole things offline,” he said, adding that specific cut targets may work in some areas.

 

Q – How does this immediate cut fit in with the work the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee is doing this summer and planning for the next biennium?

A - Lambert said the biennium planning work would continue, but now will have to consider any reductions that come from the current-year cuts now being contemplated.

 

Q - How about just calling for retirements?

A - Lambert said that could happen after discussions with union leaders.

 

Q – So, what’s the solution?

A – Lambert said that after attending Gov. Gregoire’s open meeting on the budget, he feels that it will take system-level changes to adequately address the issues facing the state now, for the next biennium and then the following two-year cycle. “The Governor said she’s expecting a $3 billion problem for the next two years and $9 billion after that,” Lambert said. “We’re probably not going to get help with what we’re facing.”

 

Q – Will Shoreline close?

A - Lambert said Shoreline has many valuable components. “I believe the state will be served best with 34 locations, but they make look different than they do now,” he said. 

* State Board advice: Cut budgets now

Biting the hand

 

While facing continued budget reductions, the latest figures from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges show demand is up in a number of areas, including:

  • The final 2009-10 annualized state FTES is 159,939, 9% higher than the previous academic year.
  • From an allocation stand-point, which includes university contracts and the University Center of North Puget Sound (UCNPS), the CTC system finished the year 16% over enrolled (roughly 21,500 FTES over the budgeted target).
  • Pre-College and Academic courses grew the most during the academic year by 14% and 11% respectfully.
  • Workforce enrollments grew by 9% while Basic Skills decreased by 3%.
  • Worker Retraining enrollments (11,011 FTE for Spring) remained at the same level as those generated during Winter quarter.  The system produced slightly over 13,000 annualized FTES as was expected.
  • eLearning FTES continue to grow and are 34% higher than last spring at 27,874 state FTE and contributing to the year-end total of 30,587 FTES.
The latest economic news out of Olympia has Shoreline Community College officials thinking about how to make immediate budget reductions.

 

“The state’s economic forecast isn’t good,” said Shoreline President Lee Lambert. “We’re being advised by staff at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to reduce expenditures now.”

 

According to this month’s report from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, June revenue to the state was 7.7 percent ($91 million) below the forecast, a target that had already been lowered $200 million from the February forecast. The Council report says the U.S. economy is at greater risk of stalling and that Washington’s “near-term economic outlook is weaker than anticipated in June.”

 

Budget advice to the state’s 34 community and technical colleges came in a July 15, 2010, message from Chris Reykdal, deputy executive director - finance, for the State Board.

 

“I feel like a broken record here, but please plan accordingly,” Reykdal wrote. “Reducing your spending trajectories immediately will mitigate, in part, some of the cuts that are likely coming.  In other words, spread this cut over 11 months by taking action now.

 

“Waiting until it is official will only leave you with less and less time to make reductions for the current year.”

 

Lambert said it is instructive that the state system is now advising the approach Shoreline has taken for the past two years. “We’ve been proactive when and where we could be and it has helped to some degree,” Lambert said. “We’ll continue to do that, but now everyone is being told to do it.”

 

Shoreline’s Board of Trustees Chairman Jerry Smith said the situation requires action. “I believe the College must react quickly to these economic realities,” Smith said. “If we are to continue to serve students and the state, facing these facts sooner rather than later is advisable.”

 

While the economic trend is gloomy, of more immediate concern is word from the state Office of Financial Management that there is room under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to cut another 4 percent from overall higher-education funding for the current fiscal year.

 

The ARRA, sometimes called the stimulus package, required maintenance-of-effort equal to 2006 funding levels. In his memo, Reykdal said the State Board was recently notified that state budget officials reviewed the language and believe the level could be $48 million to $50 million lower.

 

 “Of that amount, about half could fall to the community and technical colleges,” Lambert said.

 

And that number gives Shoreline a potential budget-reduction target, said Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell. “Assuming the same formula used in recent cuts, Shoreline would be looking at cutting $800,000 to $1 million, this year,” he said.

 

Just how cuts of that magnitude could be made, given the short timeline and two-years worth of previous reductions, hasn’t been decided, Lambert said.

 

“However, go back to the list of reduction strategies that we’ve already considered,” Lambert said. “A plan could include holding positions open and using lapsed salaries, furloughs could be back on the table, much tighter spending controls and then reducing the number of employees and moving employees off state funding support.”

 

It won’t be just higher education in the budget cross-hairs.

           

“We are hearing that the most likely approach to addressing the potential current year shortfall is across-the-board cuts ordered by the Governor,” said the State Board’s Reykdall. “The other option is a second special session for 2010, but there is little appetite for that among legislative leaders.  There are too many unknowns at this point to accurately predict the level of cuts, or our system’s share of those cuts, but a cut of at least 4 percent seems increasingly likely.”

* SCC Hosts Annual Visit by Ajou Students

The Shoreline Community College Automotive Program has made a name for itself with students coming from all over the country to enroll; actually, they come from all over the world. This year marks year four for students from Ajou Motor College, located in Boryeong, South Korea, to spend time at Shoreline 

 

“Hosting is just one example of Shoreline’s commitment to internationalizing our institution,” Thalia Saplad, Executive Director of International Programs.

 

On July 2, 16 students (all male, but one) traveled more than 5,000 miles to Shoreline to complete a custom program designed specifically for them by International Programs and the Automotive Program. The

“It’s really inspiring to see the energy these students bring; the excitement about being here and experiencing not only something new in the automotive field, but having the opportunity to learn more about SCC as well as American culture.  And in the process, it provides a learning opportunity for our campus as well.”  Pollie McCloskey, Assistant Director of International Education, International Programs

two-week program provides instruction on the history of electronic scan tool diagnostics, hands-on application on live vehicles, electronic fuel injection and an overview of industry career pathways.

 

Honda PACT instructor and Interim Director of Automotive, Bob Biesiedzinski taught the automotive classes.  “The students really enjoyed the classes.  At home they are studying car design and car modeling,” Biesiedzinski said.  “Here they are doing something completely different.”

 

The students also had the opportunity to increase their English skills in conversational classes led by ESL instructor, Daina Smuidrins as well as interact with different groups across campus, including students in the GST Program, Japan Hospitality and Tourism College and ESL students.

 

Ajou Motor College Director of International Affairs and Automotive Professor Myoung-Seok Jie said that he thinks the experience motivated the South Korean students.  “I think they begin to dream,” he said Friday morning before boarding the bus to head for the airport.

 

During their stay in northwest Washington, the visitors enjoyed trips to Tillicum Village, the LeMay Car Museum, Paccar Kenworth plant, Boeing, the Museum of Flight and a walking tour around Seattle.

 

SCC hosted a Farewell and Recognition Lunch on Thursday, July 15th to mark the successful completion of the program.  Vice President Tonya Drake gave remarks and Executive Director, International Programs Thalia Saplad welcomed the students at a luncheon held in the showroom of the Automotive Training Center on Thursday.  Vice President John Backes and Dean Susan Hoyne presented the students with certificates of completion.  Two of the students shared some of their highlights from their experience and graciously thanked everyone at SCC who helped make their time hear a wonderful learning experience. 

 

Prof. Jie said that many of the students wanted to return to Shoreline Community College to study.  Jeonga (Judy) Lee, the one female Ajou2010farewell.jpgstudent in the group said that she is going to tell her boyfriend (who is also a student at Ajou) that he HAS to come next year.  “I never had the chance to touch a car before, the car design student said. “I got so much new knowledge and experience.”  Lee is one of only three females in the program. 

 

The college’s association with Ajou began in 2006 when the institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support educational exchanges, with the first exchange occurring in the summer of 2007 when 19 students came to Shoreline.  In 2008, 15 students from SCC’s automotive program participated in a similar training program at Ajou. 

 

See photos by Prof. Jie.

 

                                                          SCC/Donna Myers

* Family-friendly summer of science at SCC

Shoreline Community College will be the site of two family-friendly, science-oriented events this summer.

 

7th Annual SolarFest

On Saturday, July 17, Shoreline Community College hosts the 7th annual SolarFest.  The fair includes a variety of exhibitors, a KidZone featuring hands-on creative activities, live music, a beer garden, Taste of Shoreline (with Southern, Asian, and Midwestern cuisines), speakers and elected officials, a film festival, and a Transportation Zone highlighting alternative fuel vehicles and electric cars.

 

SolarFest runs from 10 a.m. through 8 p.m. in Shoreline’s West Parking lot.  Admission is free; parking is $2.00 (walking, biking, and public transportation are encouraged).

 

SolarFest began in 2004 in celebration of the first solar installation at a Shoreline public school, and to raise public awareness regarding our use of resources.  The fair showcases organizations and businesses which feature conservation and sustainability in their business practices.  SolarFest is the longest running event of its kind in the Puget Sound region.

 

SolarFest Opening Night with Keynote Speaker Marcelo da Luz will take place at 7 p.m., Friday, July 16, in the Shoreline Community College Theater.  Da Luz’s presentation is entitled Solar Goes a Long Way:  The Power of One Solar Car Project.  In 1999, da Luz dreamed of creating a solar car that would set world distance records.  In the process of building his solar car, supporters from 24 countries joined the project and, since then, he and his team continue to break world records (including travelling 22,000 miles through America and Canada on solar power).  In addition to the keynote presentation, SolarFest Opening Night includes a silent auction benefit, appetizers, and a no-host bar.

 

More information about SolarFest can be found at www.shorelinesolar.org.

 

2010 Camps for Curious Minds

Shoreline Community College will also be one of five locations for a variety of Pacific Science Center summer camps for kids.  The camps at Shoreline will offer kids in grades 1 through 6 exciting, hands-on science activities in a beautiful setting.  The one-week camps run from July 19 through August 20, and feature such topics as Big Bad Bugs, Amusement Park Science, Claymation Creations, Get Set to be a Vet, Spy Science, Splash Science, and Smartest Artists.  For more information, including how to register, download the Summer Camp brochure.

* Testing for NABCEP entry level solar certification
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) will offer the entry level exam for solar certification at Shoreline Community College from 9 to 11 a.m., Friday, July 16, 2010 in Room 2926. Seating is limited to 50, so arriving early is encouraged.  A certificate will be given to those who pass indicating entry level knowledge of the photovoltaic field.  Please note that this is not the installer certification, but the entry-level certificate.  Mike Nelson, director of the college’s Clean Technology Program will give the exams.  The cost of the exam is $125.  Contact Dean Susan Hoyne at 206-533-6638 or shoyne@shoreline.edu.