Message from President Roberts: Planning for our 2019-20 budget

Dear Colleague,

Now that our tenth-day enrollment numbers are in, we face an enrollment decline for the third consecutive quarter. One theme emerging from the Courageous Conversations is a desire to hear updates from the Executive Team sooner and more frequently, so here is what we know now about our current financial situation.

As of winter quarter, we expect a revenue shortfall in our operating budget of $1.4 million. We currently have sufficient tuition contingency reserve to cover that gap for this year only.

As we look ahead to fiscal year 2019-20, we will need to adjust the budget to remain financially resilient and bring our revenues and expenses into alignment as we assess changes in the way state support is allocated. Here is some information that will help us move forward:

1. The Abbreviated Strategic Action Plan (aSAP) process will be suspended for the 2019-20 fiscal year to minimize any new operational expenses. My hope is that this announcement is being made early enough, before people have invested significant time on any new aSAP proposals. Limited Innovation Fund Grant funding will be available for consideration of projects with an immediate, demonstrated impact on enrollment, retention and completion. More information about this application process will be provided on March 8 during our all-campus gathering.

2. I met with the leadership of the Faculty and Classified Federations and the Faculty Senate on February 7 to share this initial budget information and get their input on this communication. Because the Faculty Federation is currently in bargaining with the Administration, I agree with their decision to focus on advocating for their members and not on setting budget priorities outside of the bargaining table. I look forward to beginning our work with the Classified Federation and Faculty Senate to design a process for identifying 2019-20 budget priorities, along with the Dean Team and the Admin Team.

3. We will hold an all-campus gathering on Friday, March 8 (2:00-3:00 p.m.) in the PUB’s Main Dining Room (#9215) to engage employees in a conversation about a process for moving forward. Given the campus closures over the past two weeks, we will use our regularly scheduled Campus Update to hold this conversation.

4. The College will need to prepare a draft budget by May in order to present it to the Board of Trustees for approval in June.

I am committed to providing appropriate financial and enrollment information to make data-informed decisions, communicating with you regularly about the budget, and collaborating with College leadership to develop a process for adjusting the budget. While we have significant budget challenges ahead of us, I am confident we can address them, as we have addressed other challenges in the past, to ensure a stronger College for our students and for each other.

Gratefully,

Cheryl Roberts, Ed.D.
President
Office of the President

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