During its monthly meeting tonight (July 17), the Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees passed a resolution in an 8 to 1 vote declaring financial exigency. The declaration follows the board’s approval of a conservative budget of $30.32 million last month. That budget goes before Cayuga County Legislature for approval on July 23.
In declaring financial exigency, the college may lay off employees to close the gap between projected revenues and projected expenditures.
“After all the cuts and reductions made thus far, we must turn to our personnel costs in order to balance the budget,” said College President Daniel P. Larson. “Depending upon enrollment, we’ll know how much needs to be done.”
Personnel costs represent nearly 80 percent of college expenditures. In order to find sufficient budgetary reductions, the college will have to decrease expenditures in that area. Some savings can be found in retirements, attrition, and modifications of part-time hours. For example, if the college has fewer students, it will not need to hire as many adjunct professors. Layoffs are another possibility.
With seven weeks before the start of the fall semester, enrollment data indicates that the college is currently at 80.9 percent of Fall 2012 final full-time equivalent (FTE), and 1.16 percent below where enrollment was at the same time last year. These numbers will continue to change until the final Fall FTE numbers are recorded for late-start courses.
“We will keep our students and our educational mission at the heart of our decisions,” Larson said. “Our goal remains to deliver the highest quality education and support to our diverse student body population as we move forward in righting the fiscal challenges facing the college.”
Earlier this year, the college announced it needed to reduce expenditures of its $32.36 million operating budget by approximately $1.5 million before the end of the fiscal year on August 31, 2013, to help make up for an unexpected 5 percent enrollment decrease. Approximately 90 percent of College revenue is tied to student enrollment, so dramatic fluctuations in enrollment have a significant impact on the budget.
Last fall, senior leaders and budget managers identified more than $778,000 in savings through employee retirements, operating budget reductions, cuts to travel, and reductions in part-time employee hours.
In spring, three of the four bargaining units at the college as well as managerial and confidential employees, executive staff, and the president accepted furlough days and helped close the budget gap for this year. While great gains have been made in closing the budgetary gap for 2012-13, there is still a gap of approximately $400,000.
The college will honor the agreements that they reached with three of the bargaining units: Maintenance and Custodial Group, Educational Support Professionals, and the Administrative Professionals Group. Those agreements guarantee no layoffs of the groups’ employees through December 31, 2013.