SBCC Academic Senate considers solutions for $3.25 million deficit

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SBCC Academic Senate considers solutions for $3.25 million deficit

Sierra Shelton, Opinion Editor

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The Academic Senate discussed sending out a survey to all faculty to garner more ideas to close the current $3.25 million deficit facing City College.

Interim Superintendent-President Helen Benjamin took to public comment at their meeting Wednesday to implore the senate to give feedback on a survey of suggestions on how to lower the deficit without using the college’s $2.9 million reserve.

At the Sept. 12 Board of Trustees meeting, the board approved the budget for the new year with the stipulation that it would take action on lowering the deficit.

In response, Benjamin presented a survey of ideas to balance the deficit and increase revenue, made by Z Reisz, director of institutional assessment, research and planning. 

A summary of the suggestions was provided, offering more background on each option.

Faculty could rank what was “most feasible and deserving of further discussion” from more than 60 suggestions such as closely managing vacation and sick accruals since payouts have reached thousands with faculty failing to follow the required reports.  

Also on the survey were hiring and overtime freezes, finding outsourced food services and replacing both summer sessions with online courses. 

A number of the options are striking, including limiting School of Extended Learning schedules,  eliminating sabbaticals, and raising student parking permit fees. Other options seem more attainable such as using less paper, adding more vending machines, and observing how other colleges increase revenue.

Feedback will then be reported back to the College Planning Council for review on Oct. 1. 

The survey left many members of the senate questioning the anonymous survey process and some were unsatisfied with the options that were provided.

“What they’re saying is that they don’t want their new superintendent-president to inherit a deficit,” Benjamin said about the Board of Trustees.

The survey responses will be drafted into a revised, tangible plan in November and discussed further by the Board of Trustees.

“What we’re trying to do right now is develop a plan for [the budget] because we can’t do it all before I leave here,” Benjamin said. “There’s no way.”

Benjamin went on to inform the senate that 44 people have applied to be considered for the Superintendent-President position, a number that’s higher than usual. 

“That’s encouraging,” Benjamin said. “What it says to me is that there are people interested in being in this institution and you should feel good about that.”

The Academic Senate will reconvene Oct. 9.

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