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Position Eliminations - Mar. 8, 2012
Dear colleagues,At Monday’s board meeting, the trustees reluctantly acted to eliminate more than 50 positions as of June 30 to help reduce the district’s structural budget deficit. Of the two administrative positions, 32.5 classified positions and 19 full-time faculty positions being eliminated, the majority are vacant or will be vacant due to retirement.
Eliminating these positions, particularly those that are filled, is not something any of us would willingly do if the district was not facing an impossible fiscal situation. We know the pain and disruption that often accompany such unwelcome changes for individuals and families. As a community, we feel a sense of loss as we try to move forward under difficult circumstances.
The campuses have been open and inclusive in their discussions about how to meet their budget-reduction goals. The focus has been consistent: How can Foothill-De Anza continue to do the best job for our students given our diminished resources?
Having suffered almost $30 million in state budget cuts in three years, we find ourselves facing previously unimagined levels of change — position reductions, consolidations and reorganizations, even elimination of entire programs and departments.
We would prefer to retain these valuable positions and services. However, given the unprecedented state funding cuts, there are no easy answers. We have little choice but to find new ways of doing things.
Counting this new round of reductions, we estimate that the district has eliminated about 450 positions since state funding began declining in 2009. This includes cuts to staff and administrators, as well as full- and part-time faculty. Additionally, 85 positions have been cut back or moved out of the general fund to other funds, where appropriate.
Students, of course, also have been hurt by these changes. Perhaps most striking is that in the past three years, California has reduced the number of students for which Foothill and De Anza are funded by 11 percent, a cut in funding for 3,600 students.
Even after these reductions, under the best-case scenario we expect that Foothill-De Anza will enter 2012-13 with a budget deficit of approximately $8.8 million. This figure does not include any additional state budget cuts that community colleges may suffer if November tax initiatives benefiting higher education fail, which could push our deficit to about $13 million. Meanwhile, the district’s stability fund, which has helped us delay full implementation of reductions, is nearing its end.
The colleges and district central services will do everything possible to support and assist employees through these transitions. Ultimately I have no doubt that we will find creative ways to serve students. We will continue to do our very best work because it is work we do from our hearts.
Eventually, I believe that California will find a way to solve the problems that have led us to this point. Our situation eventually will improve. In the meantime, let’s follow the lead of our students and tell our friends, neighbors and legislators about what is happening to community colleges and the implications for California. Let’s strive to be generous with one another and remember that we are doing the best we can in an extremely trying time.
Thank you for the work you do and the supportive and successful educational communities you have built.
Linda Thor, Chancellor