Important Information from the Board of Trustees Meeting of August 28, 2017 - August 30, 2017
I wanted to let you know about some financial concerns and strategies that we presented to the Board of Trustees at their meeting of August 28 in response to continuing enrollment declines.
Also, the board took a first step toward exploring the possibility of a local general obligation bond measure in 2018.
Budget reduction targets
We are losing $6 million in state revenue this year because of a sharp drop in enrollment in 2016-17. Since declining enrollment is a trend we haven’t been able to reverse over the past six years, the board agreed with a Chancellor’s Cabinet recommendation to act immediately to bring expenses into line with our reduced revenues over the next three years.
We have asked the campuses and district office to make a total of $2 million in budget cuts in the current 2017-18 fiscal year. The reduction targets are based on the percentage of revenue allocated to each entity in the budget.:
· 50 percent to De Anza, or $1,000,000
· 35 percent to Foothill, or $700,000
· 15 percent to Central Services, or $300,000
We’ve also set expense reduction targets of $3 million for 2018-19 and $5 million for 2019-20. These targets are based on projections that enrollments will be flat or declining by no more than 1% over the next three years. The targets will be reviewed quarterly for any changes in key assumptions, so they may be adjusted.
To give you a more detailed picture of our budget situation, town hall meetings will be held in November at various locations throughout the district. In the meantime, if you would like to review the budget information we presented to the board this week, please visit the district budget page at http://business.fhda.edu/budget/annual-budget-and-quarterly-report.html
Polling for a possible bond
The board authorized the district to retain a consulting firm to conduct polling to determine support in the local community for a general obligation bond measure on the June or November election ballot in 2018.
It may seem counter intuitive to seek a bond when enrollment is down, but this would not be a bond focused on construction of new buildings. A bond would provide for:
· technology upgrades
· instructional equipment
· sustainability measures
· safety measures
· deferred maintenance
· vehicle replacement
These needs have been identified in our facilities, technology and educational master plans and also will also be addressed in a new energy and emissions management plan.
You will be hearing more about these issues at District Opening Day and in the budget town halls later in the fall. I’m writing today because I want everyone to be aware that we can no longer delay expense reduction in the hope that ongoing revenue will increase. The good news is that we have time to honor our governance processes and engage in transparent, inclusive and purposeful decision-making. Additionally, advocacy is underway to modify state funding formulas to allow for a longer period of stability funding during times of enrollment volatility.
On September 1, I will celebrate my 29th anniversary at Foothill-De Anza and have been reflecting back on the budget crises I have experienced with a great many of you over the years. Our history has taught me that we have faced successive challenges with better insight from lessons learned. This upcoming chapter will call upon us again to respond with the dedication, creativity, and empathy that distinguish our district. What a privilege it is to serve you!
Judy C. Miner, Ed.D.
Foothill-De Anza Community College District