In an effort to curtail a projected $13 million budget deficit for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, City College of San Francisco will cut classes planned for the upcoming Spring semester and reduce it’s summer class schedule by 25 percent, Chancellor Mark Rocha announced Thursday.
The deficit, first discussed at a Board of Trustees hearing last week, stems primarily from spending on salaries and benefits, according to college officials. It follows efforts over the past year to balance a $32 million budget deficit that included a previous 12 percent cut in class offerings.
“Based on our projections, without changes to current spending levels, we would end the fiscal year with an approximately $13 million deficit and $3 million reserve deficit,” Rocha wrote in a statement to the college community on Thursday. “We cannot allow this to happen, and are taking immediate actions to balance our budget.”
Rocha announced that the college first transferred $5.5 million in unrestricted funds to its reserve fund, stating that community colleges are required to maintain a 5 percent reserve at all times by state accreditors. The college also plans to reduce its spending on administrators and consultants to save some $3.3 million.
According to City College spokesperson Evette Davis, the latter would involve cancelling certain contracts with consultants and holding off on hiring for open administrator positions.
However, to close a $2 million gap that would remain, Rocha said that the college’s leadership had to “turn our attention to the Spring 2020 schedule.” Enrollment for the Spring Semester began this week.
Some 225 credit classes and 63 non-credit classes have been cut from the Spring schedule. Physical education, art, dance and music credit classes were most impacted, and for non-credit subjects, offerings for older adults were trimmed, according to Rocha.
The class cuts are saving the college some $2.1 million this semester. Additionally, reducing the summer semester schedule by 25 percent is expected to save the college about $1 million over the next two fiscal years.
Rocha said that the college has been impacted by recent changes to how funding is apportioned at the state level, focusing more heavily on graduation rates.
“We recognize these changes are difficult, and no one at the leadership level wants to cut classes. But given the new state funding formula, the college must finally grapple with age-old operational issues,” wrote Rocha. “We must bring expenses in line with revenue by removing under-enrolled classes from the schedule. Only then can the college use its resources to grow enrollment and ensure the timely graduation of its students of color.”
Jennifer Worley, president of City College’s faculty union, said that the union is “horrified” about the cuts.
“It’s hurting our faculty and we are really concerned that this is happening so quickly and that it’s being done in this emergency fashion,” said Worley, calling the budget issue an “under budgeting issue.”
“We normally spend a particular amount, $30 million, on part-time faculty to run our programs that The City wants and the people take. We know how much it costs and they under-budgeted for that,” she said.
Worley agreed that changes to the state funding formula have hurt the college.
“We want these classes to return as soon as possible. We are pushing for local legislation [and] working with Supervisor Gordon Mar on this, to plug that gap that the state is no longer funding,” said Worley.