LCC Faculty Colleagues,
I’m writing regarding the College budget after tonight’s Board and Budget Committee meeting. I’m linking here and attaching to this message a statement I sent to the Board and Budget Committee shortly before their meeting and also provided by public comment. I encourage you to read it in full.
Many of you have been tracking developments throughout this year’s budget process, which has starkly contrasted the regular annual process at LCC.
The Administration has presented wildly different figures each week over the past three weeks, sometimes vastly different figures on the same day at the same public meeting. The changing estimates have primarily been estimates of the amount of funding that will remain in the general fund (i.e., Fund I) at the end of this June, a mere five weeks away – with estimates ranging from $2.5M to $7.8M. The final figure presented today was $3.6M.
These figures, if accurate, demonstrate that the reserves that had been restored at the beginning of this fiscal year (i.e., July 1, 2022) are now substantially depleted. For example, one document provided by the Administration indicates that managers in charge of M & S (Materials & Services) budgets, which include travel, have overspent the allocations for M & S in the general fund by $2.3M this year. Meanwhile, total personnel expenditures, which include faculty salaries, have come in slightly under budget this year.
In addition, the Administration has discovered and announced errors in their budget figures in the amounts of $2.1 Million and $1.7 Million respectively at each meeting in the past two weeks. Please see table below.
Given these basic facts, I find it difficult to have confidence in the budget figures presented or in the administration’s management of expenditures within the confines of the approved budget – authority provided to them by the Board.
|*||May 3, 2023FY 24 proposed budget document on Board Docs||May 3, 2023 FY 24 projections document on Board Docs||8 a.m. May 10, 2023 FY24 projections document Board Docs||4:55 p.m. May 10, 2023FY24 projections document on Board Docs||May 17, 2023||May 24,2023|
|Fund I beginning balance for FY24 (i.e., projection for June 30, 2023)||$7,834,450||$3,688,667||$5,064,266||$2,524,266 (or $5,064,266 including contingency)||2,524,266 (plus 1,398,300 contingency)||$3,646,566, plus 1,398,300 contingency|
|Fund I ending balance for FY24 (i.e. projection for June 30, 2024)||$3,435,560||-$710,000||$7,971,576||$3,033,276 (or $5,431,576 including contingency)||Documents now removed from BoardDocs|
|Other corrections||“unknown $2.1M” had been built into M&S||“clerical error” of $1.7M|
The Administration published their proposed amendments to the budget around 4 p.m. – one hour before the public hearing began.
The amendments include:
- $1.5M in personnel reductions in Instruction*
- $237,000 in personnel reductions in Instructional Support
- $312,000 in personnel reductions in Student Services
- $604,000 in personnel reductions in College Support Services
- $148,000 in personnel reductions in Plant Ops & Maintenance
For a total of $2.8M in personnel reductions for next year.
No information has been presented publicly about what the reductions may be, whether there is a plan for reductions, or whether they will be mitigated by current vacancies or swirl** which is projected to amount to $1.3 – $1.4M in savings next year.
Given that the FY24 budget has $4.2 – 5.2 Million is vacancies built in (for 44 positions of all types from all employee groups), there is sufficient funding available to allow the College to have a balanced budget without introducing $2.8 Million in personnel cuts next year.
In the case of faculty positions, it is frequently impossible to realize savings from budget cuts, especially savings of any significant amount through contracted faculty layoffs. What often happens is that faculty will transfer to another discipline for which they are qualified, displacing part-time faculty whose salaries are substantially lower, thereby increasing the cost-per-FTE of the program where they transfer. At the same time the original program that was reduced no longer has enrollment, resulting in lost tuition revenue and state funding. It’s a lose-lose scenario.
Please also note that the deadlines for any faculty retrenchments to take place for Fall term have long passed, so it is not possible for any layoff to occur this coming Fall.
Even though the proposed budget amendments were not published until one hour before the public hearing, the Board and Budget Committee, nevertheless, passed a formal motion to recommend the amendments. The amendments will next be incorporated into a final budget document. The Board will be asked to approve the final budget at their June 7 meeting, which you may wish to consider attending.
Your Association leaders will continue to advocate for transparency, reasonableness, and accountability regarding the budget, centering the instructional and student services mission of our beloved community college.
There are better options and better choices for our campus and our community.
* Please note that “Instruction” includes all employees in instructional departments (i.e., faculty, classified, managers).
** “Swirl” is savings resulting from salaries for positions that are budgeted but not filled for all 12 months of the year such as when an employee resigns, and the position is not refilled for a number of months.