LCC Faculty Colleagues,
I hope the first week of the term is going well for you. I’m writing with a brief update regarding the college budget and Monday’s Board of Education Special meeting.
On Friday of finals week, the College Council held a special meeting to consider the Budget Development Subcommittee’s budget proposal. The Council approved a consensus-based, balanced budget incorporating, in large part, the recommendations of the Budget Development Subcommittee. The proposal included a $4.50 per credit tuition increase as well as a number of other budget reduction measures, all of which would avoid involuntary layoffs or program eliminations. In addition to tuition, the budget incorporates state funding at the level proposed by the Ways and Means Co-Chairs ($590M), which amounts to an approximate $1.6M increase over two years for LCC, along with a modest increase in anticipated property tax revenue. Additional measures to balance the budget include eliminating last year’s increase to major maintenance funding, a reduction in Materials and Services budgets, particularly travel, as well as some savings from budgeted vacancies.
Administration Budget Proposal
The Administration presented a budget to the Board of Education that aligns with the College Council proposal with one notable exception. (See https://www.lanecc.edu/sites/default/files/budget/4.1.19_boe_materials_v2.pdf ) The Administration has requested that the Board of Education consider outsourcing the bookstore at their regular April 11 meeting. (The Board had voted not to outsource in March, but did so without receiving a budget update.) In addition, the Administration has recommended a review and restructure of the Health Clinic model but not a closure of the clinic.
Board of Education Special Meeting, Monday, April 1
The primary agenda item for Monday’s Board of Education Special meeting was tuition. In previous meetings, Board members had pressed the Administration to clearly and specifically identify what the impacts would be without a tuition increase. Both President Hamilton and Vice President Jarrell clearly and eloquently articulated the importance of maintaining focus on the college mission and our primary function as an institution of higher education, noting that instruction and critical student services are the very last place that should be considered for budget reductions. However, due to the questions raised in previous meetings about specific impacts that might result without sufficient revenue, the Administration’s presentation included notes about the types of programs that would be impacted if there were not sufficient revenue generated by tuition or other means to cover regular, continued operating expenses.
In a meeting with Association representatives yesterday, the administration made clear that they are not currently proposing or planning to reduce the programs that they provided as examples to the Board on Monday. These programs include: Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Dental Assisting, Flight Technology, Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Medical Assisting, Welding, and Drafting.
While a $4.50 per credit is significant, it represents a 4% increase. This is roughly the increase that had been tied to a $647M allocation for community colleges in the governor’s investment budget. Thus, because the expected state allocation is only $590M, the tuition increase is substantially less than what would be needed to bridge the funding gap. It mitigates only 11% of the projected deficit at Lane and is substantially less than the 5-10% increases that other community colleges are considering adopting for next year.
In addition, Vice President Paul Jarrell presented a Tuition Recommendation document to the Board: See BoE Tuition 4.1.19. The document includes a summary of the cost of attendance for independent, full-time students. While tuition continues to increase, the largest expenses for students, generally, are housing. As you may be aware, the OEA has been active in legislative efforts to ameliorate escalating housing costs, which impact many of our members as well as students and their families.
The Board ultimately voted 6-1 to approve the proposed $4.50/ credit tuition increase.
The Board of Education is scheduled to meet next Thursday to consider the bookstore and the projected budget deficit, among other agenda items. Regular Board and Budget Committee meetings will continue in May until the final budget is officially adopted in June.
While no programs are currently proposed for elimination, the budget cycle does often raise questions about job security for faculty — both part-time and full-time. If you are a part-time faculty, the Association recommends that you consider seeking assignments in more than one department, discipline, or accrual family, if qualified. If you are a contracted faculty member, the Association recommends that you seek certification for additional courses or positions and verify that all such courses are listed on the official RIF lists that are printed every October. If nothing else, these measures may provide peace of mind during the annual budget cycle.
Many hands make light work! As you likely know the LCCEA is almost entirely a volunteer organization. There are many ways to participate and contribute to the the Association and for the benefit of all faculty, our college community, and state… even if for one hour per year. If you wish to volunteer at some time now or in the future, please take a couple of minutes to fill out the interest survey at: https://forms.gle/7SvEp48qnKByrhfW9 Thank you to part-time faculty member, John Groves, for developing the survey and serving as an LCCEA organizer.