The college faces a $12 – 14 million hole in the budget for next year — and this is the “good news”. If the governor’s tax initiative doesn’t pass in November, we could be looking at $25 million.
Even if we all gave significant wage concessions, the college will have to cut classes in the fall and spring, along with other student services. But, we also have to reach our base number of full time equivalent students (FTES) in 2012-13 or else we lose even more money from the state. And in 2011-12, the college didn’t serve that base number of students. How, you might ask, do we cut classes and serve more students than we did this year?
At Tuesday’s College Planning and Budgeting Council meeting, new Interim Chancellor Pam Fisher put it like this: we have to be as efficient as possible. Or, to put it more concretely, almost all the classes we offer have to be full. In fact, Fisher sounded a lot like she was ready to add classes back to the reduced summer and fall schedules — as long as those classes are almost guaranteed to fill. What she didn’t say, but what cannot be far behind, is that we have to cut classes that do not fill.
So, to summarize, get ready for last minute changes. What seems to be cut today, may be restored tomorrow. And vice versa. We’re professionals and we can handle it, but — as one college veteran put it — we’re in for a rocky ride.