Laney Faculty Senate resolution on budget cuts (and District response)

Occasionally we are publicly reminded that these schools are actually workplaces for waged and unwaged workers (parents with kids in childcare, students). Contract negotiations are one of those times.

Click here to read the District’s opening offer to the three Peralta unions – the Peralta Federation of Teachers, SEIU 1021 (classified staff) and IUOE 39 (maintenance/janitors) – each of which is in the opening stages of negotiating successor agreements to their three-year contracts.

Resolution on Budget Cuts

Passed by the Laney Faculty Senate on October 19, 2010

Whereas, the Peralta Community College District administration has asked the Peralta colleges to cut up to 350 sections from the Spring 2011 schedule, and

Whereas, the colleges of the Peralta Community College District were previously required to cut 303 sections between Fall 2009 and Fall 2010 semesters, and

Whereas, student and instructional support services (including counseling hours, library hours and tutoring services) have been significantly reduced in an effort to cuts costs, and

Whereas, the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees has specifically requested that budget cuts take place as far away from the classroom as possible, and

Whereas, in the last two years, district administrators have taken inadequate leadership in finding ways to reduce administrative costs, receiving up to a 16% unilateral salary increase, and only agreed to take furlough days after getting concessions from the faculty and classified unions, and

Whereas, since July 2010, the Peralta Community College District administration has hired new vice chancellor/associate vice chancellor positions (student services, governmental affairs, educational services) without following an open hiring process, and

Whereas, since July 2010, the Peralta Community College District administration, using general funds, hired a director of the Peralta Foundation with a $100,000 annual budget, and

Whereas, in the last two years, with the exception of one college, there have been no reductions in administrative staffs at the college level and there have been increases in administrative staffs at the district level, and

Whereas, the Peralta Community College District has determined its highest priorities to be Career Technical Education, Foundational Skills and Transfer Education ; therefore,

Be it resolved, that the Peralta Planning and Budgeting Council prioritize all spending and cuts according to these areas, and

Be it resolved, that the Laney College Faculty Senate requests that the district and college budget advisory committees recommend ways to reduce spending on administrative offices, and

Be it further resolved, that the Laney College Faculty Senate requests that the district and college budget advisory committees consider consolidating and sharing administrative duties within the district as a way to reduce administrative costs, and

Be it further resolved, that the Laney College Faculty Senate requests the Chancellor provide a written explanation of the justification for hiring three high-level administrative positions without following the recommendation of the district budget committee or using an open hiring process as stipulated by board policy.

~~A Message from Chancellor Wise Allen ~~

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Greetings:

This is an open letter in response to the Laney College Faculty Senate’s October 19, 2010 Resolution. The Resolution identified a number of areas of concern to the Senate, and I would like to clarify some misperceptions and reiterate the Administration’s position and the action we have taken on the budgetary situation facing the Peralta Community College District.

Firstly, let me set the record straight: The District has been forced by the State’s budget cuts to reduce class sections. We have not sought to cut 350 sections at Laney College as the resolution wrongly states, but approximately 100 sections.  Although it is our mission to serve as many students as possible, we have been consistently over our state-imposed enrollment cap. In Spring 2010 our actual FTES was 3,907 FTES, which is 307 FTES over our Spring 2011 target of 3,600. To reduce from 3,907 FTES to 3,600 FTES is approximately 100 sections, not 350 sections.

The State of California reduced our base to 19,050.  This means that no matter how much FTES is generated above 19,050, we were not paid for it unless the State includes growth in its budget. Simply put, if you don’t have the money you cannot offer the classes.

As you know, the District is required to spend at least 50% of its dollars on the instructional side.  What this means is that if you reduce class sections you must also reduce non-instructional areas.  The non-instructional areas are administration and classified staff. The District has done this by reducing administrative costs, which I will detail below.

Historically, administrative and confidential staff received the same salary increases as faculty and classified employees.  When the faculty added on the range of its pay by extending its steps, administration and confidential staff should have gotten the same amount.  However, this did not take place and Peralta administrators remained some of the lowest paid in the state. Therefore, Chancellor Harris granted administrators a 5% raise, effective July 1, 2008, putting their salaries more in line with their colleagues across the state. One administrator received an increase of 11% and another who is no longer with the District received a 15% increase. The other 50 administrators received only a 5% increase in salary. The continued mischaracterization of what took place should cease, and we should lay this matter to rest once and for all.

Let me also note that administrators agreed to take one furlough day a month, or 12 annually, compared to only six for classified staff. This is nearly a 5% salary reduction by management, all but eliminating any increase they received in previous years.

Regarding my reorganization of the District Office, an “open hiring process as stipulated by board policy” was not, in fact, required as misstated in the resolution.  Under Board policy 1.18B, and Section 53021 of Title 5, Education Division 5, “A new opening is not created when there is a reorganization that does not result in a net increase in the number of employees.” In the reorganization that I put into place, the following positions were eliminated:  Associate Vice Chancellor of Students Services, Director of Research and Development, and Director of Development. The duties of these three positions were assumed by three existing incumbents for a substantial net savings to the District of $504,160.

Moreover, a total of $1,890,808 was reduced from the District Office budget, effective July 1, 2010, as a result of my reorganization and other cost-cutting measures. These are significant cuts by any measure, and they are as far from the classroom as possible.

While I encourage a thoughtful and spirited dialog concerning the budget realities faced by all of us, I ask that the facts be presented truthfully and in the spirit of collegial discourse. Let’s work together to solve this unprecedented funding crisis faced not only by Peralta, but by all of our community college colleagues statewide.

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