Budget Response Team proposes cuts up to 70 full time faculty

Posted on 06 November 2017 by Ian Schrauth

Other proposals include suspending sabbaticals, changes to insurance policies

 

By Melissa Wilkinson
Editor in Chief

An Oct. 28 email sent to faculty by Chancellor Pittman outlined proposals made by the Budget Response Team to counteract the budget shortfall set in place by Gov. Greitens. Among the many suggestions was a proposal to reduce the number of full-time faculty by up to 70 by summer 2019.BoardMeeting-Tania-3

According to the email, the final number will be calculated through guidelines within the joint resolution of the National Education Association which aligns the number of students enrolled with the number of full-time faculty. This reduction would effectively lower STLCC’s ranking among peer institutions from first (45 students per full-time faculty) to second (54 students per full-time faculty).

The Board of Trustees met at the Cosand Center on Oct. 30 to discuss the proposals. The meeting was referred to as a “work session” by the board and didn’t allow for any public input, although many full-time faculty attended the meeting. The official decision will be announced at the Nov. 30 board meeting according to memos handed out at the session.

Each board member was given time to ask questions regarding the budget. Trustee Libby Fitzgerald, who was a faculty member for 34 years, was one of the more talkative members. She gave a personal anecdote and voiced her concerns for how faculty will be treated following these cuts.

“You couldn’t ask for a better place to work. I looked forward to going to work every single year,” said Fitzgerald. “Where are we going after faculty?”

Chairwoman Doris Graham praised “the decorum” of the board and their “good and professional discussion.”

“I wanted everybody…to ask their questions. I don’t care about how many questions they have. I wanted them to ask the response team and committee those questions, so their minds could be clear as to what was going on, and to be transparent,” said Graham.

In addition to the full-time faculty cuts, Pittman’s email also named several other proposals generated by the budget response work groups, formed earlier this year in response to budget shortfalls; a reduction in non-faculty of up to 25 persons, temporarily suspending sabbaticals, improving course schedule efficiency and implementation of an annual program viability process.

Also included in the response was the recommendation that a voluntary separation incentive payment (VSIP) be offered for employees wishing to consider that option. This VSIP will carry the same terms as the VSIP offered earlier this year.

Pittman also announced the formation of a Reduction in Force Team to “assist those employees with the transition who have had their position eliminated.”

While the recommendations operate under the assumptions that current enrollment and state revenue funding remain in line with predictions, Pittman said in the email that any future reductions to enrollment or funding will need to be addressed with further budget adjustments.

“It is the hope of trustees, faculty, staff and students of STLCC that future cuts do not occur. However, the leadership of the college is working diligently to address the budget shortfalls that exist in a manner that will propel the college forward regardless of any future budget shortfalls the college may face,” said Pittman.

A special meeting exclusively for public comments regarding the budget proposals will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Cosand Center.

 

Tania Robin contributed to this article.

 

 

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