Board reviews financial scenarios, budget cuts due to coronavirus

Board+reviews+financial+scenarios%2C+budget+cuts+due+to+coronavirus

Lucy Marx, News Editor

The Board of Trustees reviewed budget predictions and scenarios at its Thursday meeting, discussing a possible decrease in revenue of up to $7 million due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fiscal Services controller James Zavas presented the board with updated budget scenarios and predictions, expecting a large drop in revenue for the 2020-2021 school year.

During the meeting, which was held on the video conferencing platform Zoom, the board reviewed a budget projection for the 2020-2021 school year that presented three different scenarios predicting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the deficit from best to worst case. 

The scenarios highlighted factors such as decline in Full-Time Equivalent Students and declines in out-of-state and international tuition revenue. 

“Due to the coronavirus we are anticipating very very significant reductions in our international and out-of-state revenues,” said Zavas.

The worst-case scenario predicts a budget deficit of $7.7 million with the best-case predicts a deficit of $3.5 million.

Zavas also said that City College is expected to receive around $5 million from the CARES act, with about half set aside for student grants.

The SBCC Foundation has provided around $1.4 million in emergency grant funds and processed around 1,600 applications, said Superintendent-President Dr. Utpal Goswami. 

“I can say that no other community college in the nation probably has done this,” said Goswami. 

LPA representative Steve Flanagan gave a presentation on the updated costs and plans for the new physical education center, and the portion of the cost not covered by the state was significantly higher than the college had allotted for. 

The board has $8 million set aside for the project, but new projections indicate the cost may be $15 million to $20 million above what the state is able to contribute. 

“We will be looking for how to stretch $8 million into this,” said Trustee Marsha Croninger, who brought up the financial concerns. 

Flanagan also provided a rendering of estimated flooding and sea level rise, showing that the new building would be outside of the possible damage zone. 

The board also reviewed a revised draft of the Board Policy regarding the student trustee position, dictating that the student trustee receive 50% the amount of compensation a regular trustee makes, alongside other changes. 

“I think the student trustee does pretty much almost as much as we do,” said Trustee Jonathon Abboud. “So I support [Student Trustee Kenny Igbechi] getting equal compensation to us.”

The board agreed to revise the document further to allow the student trustee to have equal compensation, and revisit the approval of the document at a future meeting. 

The board will reconvene via Zoom for its next regularly scheduled meeting May 14.