2020-21 Campus Budget Updates

Dear Colleague,

Last year, the College took on and accomplished, the challenge of aligning our revenue and expenses in a pre-COVID environment. This year, we must now prepare for the unanticipated and permanent loss of state funding and tuition revenue for the 2020-21 fiscal year resulting from the enrollment declines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In these very difficult budgetary times, this expected reduction will require the College, like most Washington community and technical colleges, to become smaller and re-think how we do our work. Over the summer, the Executive Team (ET) collected additional financial data, carefully reviewed solutions identified in the spring employee budget survey, and evaluated various scenarios to determine how to make the necessary reductions with the least impact on students and employees.

We must now move forward with the painful work of reducing our 2020-21 expenses in order to stabilize our finances, noting we have elected to use some of the College’s cash balance this fiscal year to preserve employee positions while we assessed the financial impact of COVID and developed a thoughtful permanent budget reduction plan. This preservation approach means that any cost savings from personnel reductions this fiscal year will only be realized for half of the year, particularly once all Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations and timelines are honored.

Today, the College will be noticing some employees, as well as their union leaders that their positions may be changed or eliminated. The plan that has been developed proposes a variety of ways to address our fiscal obligations across all employee groups, including but not limited to, holding vacant positions open, eliminating or reclassifying positions, reducing hours, and offering limited faculty tenure buyouts. In the coming weeks and months, the College will work closely with union leadership, supervisors, and employees to navigate the reduction in force processes in alignment with collective bargaining agreements as applicable.

On Friday, September 25, the Board of Trustees will meet to hear the proposed 2020-21 budget reductions. A Zoom Hall Budget Meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 29 where you will have an opportunity to learn more about the proposed changes and ask questions. Another Zoom Hall meeting will take place on October 15, with the Board voting on a finalized budget at their October 28 meeting. Additional Zoom Hall meetings will take place on October 29, on November 10, and December 3.

This will be a busy — and challenging — quarter. The solemn decisions surrounding budget reductions are extremely difficult to make and are not ones any of us imagined we’d have to do. The Executive Team does not take any reductions lightly and we are keenly aware these changes will affect our colleagues’ lives and livelihoods, as well as the College as a whole.

Shoreline is a caring community, and we will need to lean on each other as we create the best course forward in these historically difficult economic times.

Respectfully,

Cheryl Roberts, Ed.D.
President

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