These next three days could be key for Shoreline Community College.
“(Feb. 18), the budget and strategic planning committees will be meeting with PSET,” Daryl Campbell, vice president for administrative services, told members of College Council at their Tuesday, Feb. 17, meeting
. “On Friday, there is the all-campus meeting.”
Crystal ball on Olympia
Chris Reykdal, deputy executive director for finance at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, in a recent memo to college presidents gave a glimpse of what he sees as a budget scenario for the Legislature.
Reykdal said there are three significant reports coming in the next month, including:
Feb.19: Revenue forecast preview, preliminary revenue forecast for the remainder of this year and for the 2009-11 biennium. SBCTC Executive Director Charlie Earl is expected to send a system update following this report.
March 10: Revenue collection report for the period of Feb. 11-March10 which may indicate if previews are accurately predicting actual revenue collections.
March 19: The official revenue forecast for the remainder of this year and the 2009-11 biennium.
Reykdal said current thinking is that the Legislature will use the February preliminary forecast as a foundation for the 2009-11 budget development and then adjust a set of budgets based on the official March forecast.
As for a supplemental budget, the one that governs the rest of the current year, Reykdal said there appears to be a compromise on the horizon that would have the House setting the overall cut level consistent with Gov. Gregoire’s recommendations and the Senate adding some restrictive language on hiring, purchasing, travel, etc. Just when that might happen, Reykdal cautioned, is still uncertain.
And in-between, on Thursday, Feb. 19, Campbell said the entire state will hear a report from the Office of Financial Management on the condition of the economy.
All of it has to do with how the college will cope with anticipated budget cuts for the coming biennium that could range from $2.5 million to $3.2 million, reductions that are in the range of 10-15 percent of the operating budget.
College officials have been planning for cuts in that range even before Gov. Chris Gregoire announced her proposed budget on Dec. 18. Gregoire pegged cuts for the community college system at about 6.5 percent when the state budget deficit appeared to be around $6 billion. However, because some of the funding she identified doesn’t come to Shoreline, college officials looked a little higher, 10 percent. Then, because the economic trends were still declining, officials included 15 percent for planning purposes.
“The latest number I’ve been hearing is $8.5 billion,” Campbell told the council members. “What should we be planning for? It seems we’re in a good position with our planning for the 10-15 percent level.”
Even with the difficult economic news, Campbell warned that he’s worried this won’t be the end. “We have to think about, for the purposes of next year and being out of the woods, it’s not the case at all,” he said. “We could be contending with continuing budget reductions as we move through the next year.”
Council co-chair and Faculty Senate President Amy Kinsel asked Shoreline President Lee Lambert what the campus could expect to hear at the all-campus meeting, set for 12:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 20, in the PUB Main Dining.
“There will two stages,” Lambert said. “This Friday and March 6.
“This Friday, will be the big picture, the overall numbers but not the exact areas or the exact positions. We will show this is how many faculty, this is how many classified and this is how many administration positions will be cut.
“Then, two Fridays from now, we’ll share the actual positions tied to those lines.”
Before publically announcing which specific jobs could be cut from the 2009-11 budget, Lambert said he will meet with every affected individual. “At this point, I’m planning on announcing the cuts for the $2.5 million (10 percent) level,” he said. “If the budget comes in (worse), then we’d have time to act on the rest.”
The question in his mind and one Lambert said he’ll look to the budget and strategic planning committees for guidance is whether to announce which additional jobs might be impacted if cuts need to go deeper.
“Some people would want to know,” Lambert said, adding others have the opposite feeling.
Earlier in the day, Lambert noted that the Seattle Community Colleges have announced the cancellation of 40 classes for spring quarter. Other colleges, such has Highline which will immediately close its satellite campus, are making deep cuts to the current year budget.
“We aren’t doing that because we anticipated this and began planning for it this past summer,” Lambert said.
Campbell noted in his remarks to the council: “We’re out in front of this and continue to be, acting from a position of strength as much as we possibly can.”