LBCC Announces Plans to Balance Budget

LBCC officials announced today the first step of plans to increase focus on student success and completion, while balancing its budget.

The changes are part of education redesign efforts at LBCC to focus on better results for the largest number of students with available funding. The effort supports the college’s mission “to engage in an education that enables us all to participate in, contribute to and benefit from the cultural richness and educational vitality of our community.”

The plan includes a combination of program redesigns and eliminations, and the suspension of one program pending its redesign. The college will work with community partners in an effort to find ways for services to remain available. Effected programs will continue at LBCC through the end of June.

The plan also responds to a $2.9 million shortfall in the college budget created by reductions in state funding, increased employee retirement and health care benefit costs, and a 5 percent drop in enrollment. In addition to reduced costs, increases in tuition rates will be proposed to the LBCC Board of Education in order to fully balance the college’s budget.

The plan will result in a reduction of 23 positions at LBCC. Eight of the reductions are via retirement, and those positions will not be refilled. 17 are layoffs as of June 30. Two positions will be filled that have been vacant while the reorganization plan was completed. 

“All of our programs have been created to benefit our students and the community, so it is difficult both personally and professionally to make changes that effect people who have done good work,” said LBCC President Greg Hamann. “The plan is a fundamental shift toward maintaining funding in areas that show the greatest value for student success, rather than trimming areas across the board or focusing only on areas that have unfilled positions.”

By employee group, the plan will result in nine fewer classified staff positions (4.7 percent of this group), four fewer administration positions (8.5 percent of this group); and 10 fewer faculty positions (7.1 percent of this group).

Program eliminations include:
•    Intercollegiate men’s baseball and women’s basketball programs. Resources from the eliminated programs will be refocused to developing a campuswide wellness and recreation program to benefit all students. Two athletic programs will be retained: men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, which have had much higher than average retention and graduation rates among participants.
•    English for Speakers of Other Languages program. LBCC will work to broaden its partnership with the English Language and Cultural Institute (ELCI), which is located on LBCC’s Albany campus, to help meet the needs of those needing improved English skills. ELCI is independent from LBCC and caters to the English language needs of prospective students from other countries.
•    Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, which supports LBCC faculty to connect with professional development resources and opportunities.
•    Turning Point Transitions Program, which supports single parents, displaced homemakers, dislocated workers and other experiencing major life transitions. This program was previously funded through the federal Perkins program, but this funding was cut.
Programs that will be redesigned include:
•    Adult Basic Education/GED program. LBCC will work with community partners to offer these services in the community more cost-effectively.
•    High School Partnership program to efficiently respond to rapid growth and ensure greater coordination in developing pathways between K-12 and LBCC.
Reallocations and Reductions in “Special” Funds.
•    Positions at LBCC have been supported through special funds such as Perkins Grants, Strategic Investments, and external sponsors – and both internal and external changes in these funds and their allocation are impacting a number of these positions. These include a reduction of one nursing faculty, reduction of one math faculty, the already mentioned Turning Point Transitions position, one classified position in Student Affairs and a change in duties for one faculty position in the Learning center.

In addition, the instructional administrative structure is being redesigned to save money and increase effectiveness. Currently, there are four instructional divisions, each with a dean and an associate dean.

The new structure will include five instructional divisions with one dean each and no associate deans.
Also, the Visual Communications AAS degree and Graphic Design certificate will be suspended.  While a redesign of this program may be pursued and supported in the future, this program suspension is taking advantage of a faculty retirement.

In total, these changes save $2.2 million per year. In order to make up the remaining $750,000 shortfall, the plan also calls for an increase in student tuition from $91 to $94 per credit, with larger increases in higher cost programs that lead to higher wage jobs.

Tuition increases are subject to approval of the LBCC Board of Education, which has tuition-setting authority at the college.

“The reductions will be felt personally, by both those affected and those left behind to carry on the work pursuing our propose to provide education and training that improves the lives of our students and our communities,” Hamann said.

Employees whose jobs are being eliminated will remain employed through June 30. The college also will offer job retraining, resume develop support and other services to effected employees.

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