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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Retirement plans will save almost $3M from resignations next year

Retirement plans will save almost $3M from resignations next year

The College Planning Council assessed City College savings from retired employees and debated over the rules they should follow as a governing body at their meeting on Tuesday.

By the end of the fall semester, 34 employees will have resigned as part of the Supplemental Retirement Plan. The plan allows eligible employees to retire early with increased benefits, ultimately saving the college money.

By the end of spring 2021, 14 more will have retired, saving the college nearly $3 million. Those savings will rise to over $4 million by spring 2026.

Although this seems a lot of money to lower the deficit, the numbers don’t take a lot of other factors into account. The stand-alone report given by representative Lyndsay Maas and Controller James Zavas was strictly related to the SRP.

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“There’s a lot of other pieces to the puzzle,” Maas said. 

Other factors include employees retiring outside of the plan and the uncertain enrollment numbers for spring that continue to roll in.

“They are not looking very good,” said Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami about enrollment.

Some council members requested an updated version of the budget that took such numbers, like from the SRP, into account.

Representative Beth Taylor-Schott explained that the structural deficit can still be portrayed in a consistent way amid the changing factors, like enrollment and employee numbers. 

“You will certainly have it within a week,” Goswami said.

The council’s final discussion about their rules for future meetings pushed them nearly five minutes over their meeting time.

These new rules include guidelines on who is allowed to attend the meeting, the duration of public comment and how early they will publish the meeting agenda beforehand.

The Brown Act already lays out many of these rules for governance, but the CPC technically does not fall under it.

Although there was unanimous agreement in the idea that college employees may attend and give public comment, a decision was not made on if the agendas should be shared strictly 72 hours in advance.

“We need to give people an opportunity to participate,” said representative Patricia Stark.

On the one hand, it would ensure consistency and reliability, giving people enough time to read all of the documents and decide if they want to make a public comment. 

On the other hand, it’s tough for leaders to get them out on time, especially when they teach classes and have personal responsibilities.

“I think it’s worth it,” Stark said. “I think we can do this.”

Councilmembers were also worried the strict deadline would prevent emergency issues from being allowed on the budget after it had already been published. However, others agreed that this case could be an exception.

The council will bring the issue back in two weeks to finalize the rules in the resource guide.

Goswami said that they will have to start seriously considering what the spring semester will look like during a fluctuating pandemic. Some classes may still be taught in-person, but the majority will likely remain online.

“That decision will have to be made pretty soon,” Goswami said.

The CPC will reconvene on Dec. 15. 

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