SBCC’s solutions to funding loss will not impact student success

SBCC's solutions to funding loss will not impact student success

PHIL JOSEPH, Channels Staff

A decrease in school funding is driving City College to discuss ways to cut expenses, including not hiring new non-teaching staff* and cutting down departmental costs.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16, the College Planning Council addressed the issue of a 7 percent decrease in college funds, linked to declining enrollment.

“We don’t know at this moment whether we’re gonna have money for new equipment, or new technology, or new anything,” said  Priscilla Butler, chair of the planning and resources committee.

The impact of the predicted decrease in next year’s funding is still unclear. The council thinks a bottom-up approach to funding can help settle some of the uncertainty.

Previously money would be given to departments based on a requested amount, but departments often don’t spend the amount asked for.

Dr. Lori Gaskin, superintendent and president of Santa Barbara City College, 2015.
Daniel Feldtkeller
Dr. Lori Gaskin, superintendent-president of City College.

“Now is the time to give back,” said Superintendent-President Lori Gaskin. “It’s every one of us working for the good of the whole.”

Departments that underspent in previous years and are not likely to change, will be encouraged to request less funding. Those that usually exceed their budgets will be asked to minimize costs.

The council explained the best way to achieve such goals is through the cooperation of multiple levels of faculty.

“It’s really gotta happen in the trenches with vice presidents, and deans, and department chairs working as groups,” said Paul Bishop, vice president of information technology.

Another solution is putting the brakes on hiring new faculty. This means that no new faculty would be hired, and if a faculty member retired their position would be left vacant until the hiring freeze ends.

The City College Board of Trustees has a ‘no layoff’ policy that makes it difficult to keep the school a sustainable size. The council hopes that limiting the number of faculty hired can help lower the operating cost and tailor the school’s staff to the declining number of students without laying anyone off.

Normally the college ranks the importance positions based on the college’s necessities, which is used to help determine which positions are filled first. This necessity of ranking the positions sparked a debate within the council at the meeting because there will be no new hires.

Opponents of the system, such as Joe Sullivan, vice president of business services, and Bishop argued ranking positions to be counterintuitive while the school is trying to stop hiring. The disagreement ended in an 8-4 vote in favor of the ranking system because it is still important to be able to look back at the records.

Another hit to the funding is the loss of Kaplan International. In fall the Board of Trustees decided not to renew its contract with Kaplan, however, the international school is now planning to leave months before its contract is up.

Despite the necessary measures that the college must take the council emphasized that student success remains the school’s top priority. The council will continue trying to keep the school’s declining income as far away from students as possible.

Editor’s note: This article initially stated that City College was not hiring new faculty, which is incorrect. The college will be hiring new faculty. The hiring freeze only affects non-teaching staff.