Over the past three weeks, Shoreline Community College
faculty, staff and students offered a mountain of feedback on preliminary
recommendations to meet state-mandated budget reductions.
The state Legislature won’t pass a budget in the next two
weeks, but Shoreline
Community College must
still start the processes required by contracts for personnel reductions,
President Lee Lambert said.
“The contracts for faculty and classified employees have
timelines built in,” Lambert said. “To assure that reductions would take effect
by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, we have to start now. If
necessary, we can always pull back, but we can’t speed up.”
Lambert also announced Monday that he would like to have an
all-campus meeting Wednesday, April 6, to present and explain reductions that
would start then. “I know it is a difficult time, but we need to get people
together,” he said.
Budget calendar link
- Feb. 11: All-Campus Meeting
- Feb. 14-18: Deans & Directors review
- Feb. 22: Publish initial recommendations with preliminary
- Feb. 23-March 14: Campus feedback opportunities
- March 15-25: PSET review of feedback
- March 28-31: Union notifications
- April 6: All-campus meeting
- April 4-15: Notification to faculty, classified & exempt
Now, the task is for the senior executive team to review all
of it, sifting for suggestions that can help the college deal with what may be
a growing state budget problem.
“I want to thank everyone for their comments,” Shoreline
President Lee Lambert said Monday, March 14, 2011. “This is a very difficult process
and recent comments from key legislators indicate it could get tougher.
However, hearing from as many people as we did over the past several weeks is
This portion of the budgeting process began Feb. 22 when the
preliminary recommendations were sent to all employees by e-mail. Between then
and March 14, numerous face-to-face meetings were conducted with senior
executive team members and comments were collected through an anonymous e-mail
form and drop boxes placed around campus.
The preliminary recommendations are just that, an early look
at a range of potential budget-reduction targets and how the college might make
cuts that would fall in that range. In numbers presented in February by Vice
President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell, the approximate range was
from $2.25 million-$3.1 million. The preliminary recommendations included
reductions that added up to something in the middle: $2.77 million.
While there were many comments submitted both in meetings
and anonymously, in his review of the feedback, Campbell said he saw some themes emerge,
- Review the affiliate faculty status
- Why cut programs across the board, including those with
healthy enrollments vs. targeting specific programs?
- Why cut ESL if the college is moving toward a virtual
college and more international students, where more ESL would be needed?
- Why not cut expensive-to-run professional-technical
- Isn’t it preferable to teach-out program rather than cut
substantial numbers of faculty?
- Show the relationship and impacts on costs and student FTEs
of cutting all part-time faculty before cutting full-time faculty.
- Why the difference between the preliminary recommendations
and the cuts announced, but not acted on, in December?
- Rationale/criterion that cuts should come from departments
with more than four full-time faculty disregards the work load of faculty in
In a meeting Monday, senior executive team members discussed
Affiliate faculty status is the result of labor negotiations
and any change would also have to come through the negotiation process, Stephen
Smith, Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs, said. Smith noted
that faculty contract negotiations are ongoing, but cannot be included in budget
On questions regarding which programs might be reduced, John
Backes, Vice President for Academic Affairs, said that regardless of cuts, the
college must still meet the four main missions of a community college,
including transfer, professional-technical, adult basic education and contract
training. On full-time vs. part-time, Backes added that to part-time faculty
are necessary for the college to serve the current number of students. He said
recommendations in areas with more than four full-time faculty were an attempt
to keep as many disciplines at the college as possible, while preserving a core
of full-time faculty members.
has said that the difference between the December and February potential
reductions are primarily due to time. In December, the state asked for a plan
to meet significant cuts this current school year. Items in that plan needed to
result in immediate savings, but the Legislature pulled back on the request.
The reductions in February’s preliminary recommendations could be spread over a
From the anonymous comments sources came some from students
such as this one: “As a student, it is sad to see certain professors that are
young and really awesome at their job get riffed …”
Other comments questioned a variety of college expenditures
including the foundation, the number of administrators including vice
presidents, deans and directors and continuing the athletics programs.
Some comments looked at other expenses and suggested
unplugging electric water coolers, lowering thermostats in buildings and
shutting off lights. Still others looked for additional revenue, suggesting
efforts such as night and weekend classes offered to the community.
President Lambert cautioned Monday that while the
preliminary recommendations started from Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed budget,
and then modified based on comments from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, they may not be enough.
Over the weekend, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, and House Ways and
Means Chair, told the Seattle Times that another $500 million to $1.5 billion
could be added to the current budget shortfall, already at $5 billion. The next
real information is due Thursday, March 17, when the state is expected to
release the next quarterly revenue estimate.
“We’ll know more after Thursday,” Lambert said.