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Message from President Knight: FY 2009-10 Budget

Dr. Brent KnightJune 16, 2009

Last evening the LCC Board of Trustees adopted the FY 2009-10 budget as presented to them on June 4.

In these difficult economic times, the Board and I felt strongly that raising tuition would be an additional hardship for many and inconsistent with our mission of providing affordable education to everyone. Therefore, the budget maintains tuition rates at their current levels.

This was a tough decision that college boards around the country struggle to make because it is politically easier to raise tuition than it is to propose the difficult cuts needed to promote responsible fiscal stewardship and ensure financial stability.

To achieve a balanced budget, every effort was made to balance the interests of our employees with those of the thousands of students we serve every year.

We will be lowering our operating costs by $4.7 million through such measures as reducing overtime, outside contracted temporary help, travel, non-academic supplies, printing and postage. We also are instituting a two-year pay freeze for high-level, non-union administrators and increasing the returns on our investments. Within the next few weeks, we will provide more information on how we plan to implement these cost-saving measures.

We were able to achieve an additional $1.3 million in savings as a result of the voluntary retirement/severance incentive program.

And finally, after considerable analysis and deliberation, we have had to make the difficult decision to reduce 37 non-teaching positions, which will reduce expenses by $3.3 million. Some of these positions were vacant. Some positions are being eliminated but the individuals holding them are being transferred to another vacant position; they will be notified by Thursday. Three counselors have been notified of a potential change in their employment status. The net result is that 19 of the 37 positions are being eliminated and the employees in those positions are being laid off.

We began the process of notifying the 19 affected employees this morning, and all those who were on campus today have been informed. Efforts are being made to contact those who were not on campus today as soon as possible.

We recognize that these workforce reductions are a tremendous hardship for those affected and difficult for their colleagues as well. There is rarely an employee separation that is easy, yet we are working diligently to be considerate and thoughtful in each case. Each employee will be provided paid leave for a period of time, depending on their respective contracts, and continue to be eligible for regular benefits, including the employee assistance program, while on paid leave. The college also is offering outplacement assistance.

Leadership is about difficult choices, and the choices presented in this budget reflect the utmost concern for the college, the community and for the public good that a community college embodies. We are doing our best to manage in these challenging times and be good stewards of our community’s resources.

The FY 2009-10 budget does not compromise the excellence of our academic programs nor the outstanding faculty who make those programs possible. We will continue to provide instructional materials, supplies and the equipment necessary to maintain a contemporary learning environment. In addition, maintenance and repair of college facilities will continue so that we can prevent more costly repairs in the future.

I want to thank the many employees who took time to share ideas, suggestions, and viewpoints. In my many years as a community college president, I have seldom witnessed such professionalism, passion, and commitment to serving students as I have seen during this process. I hope you will continue to share your suggestions for improving college operations and service to students as we move forward.

Thank you.

Brent Knight

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