Roughly 2.5 percent of Santa Fe Community College's full-time workforce will get the ax as a result of $5 million budget shortfall made public this week.
SFCC Interim President Randy Grissom tells SFR that most of the employees who will be laid off because of the shortfall have already been notified, but that some still haven't been and may not be for a while.
"There's one that may be a couple of weeks out," Grissom says.
First, he says, the college is looking at "opportunities to flatten infrastructure" by possibly merging some job descriptions to avoid layoffs. Next, he says he's looking at positions to eliminate in nonacademic departments so the school may provide students with "essential services." As of spring 2013, SFCC employed 114 full-time staffers outside of its academic faculty, for a total of 187 full-time staffers.
"There's not a single employee that's being impacted who's not a valued employee and hasn't contributed in some aspect to our mission," he says.
Grissom says he also expects the SFCC Governing Board to formally approve a tuition increase during its Aug. 14 meeting. The Governing Board approved a financial stability plan on Tuesday that included a tuition increase of a minimum of $5 per credit hour. For perspective, students living in the college's district (which encompasses most of Santa Fe County) currently pay $39.50 per credit hour. In-state residents living outside of the college district pay $51.50 per credit hour and out-of-state students pay $98 per credit hour.
The tuition hikes will take effect during the Spring 2015 semester.
The financial stability plan also includes salary reductions for employees. Staffers will see between a 2-8 percent reductions in their salaries. Those making between $30,000-$40,000 will see a 2 percent reduction in their pay. Those with salaries ranging from $40,000-$75,000 will see a 4 percent reduction. Those making $75,000-$100,000 will see 6 percent reductions and those above $100,000 will see 8 percent reductions.
Grissom, for his part, says he'll be foregoing a $2,500 monthly discretionary allowance that he's entitled to on top of his $175,000 salary. He adds that the college is planning, if things go as projected, to recall the pay cuts by July of next year.
Grissom blames the $5 million shortfall on bad financial projections during Spring of 2013, when his predecessor Ana "Cha" Guzmán was at the helm of the college. He says that in particular, Guzmán's administration presented a retirement incentive program projected to cost $600,000 that ended up costing the college more than $1 million.
At the time, Grissom's title at the college was dean of Economic and Workforce Development/director of Sustainable Technologies Center and he says he wasn't privy to the financial projections.
Last fall, Guzmán had a particularly messy divorce from the college when the Governing Board voted to fire her for "just cause" amid allegations of low morale. Guzmán claimed she was retaliated against after writing a letter to State Auditor Hector Balderas about the college's financial mismanagement, including allegations of overspending on temporary positions, unscheduled employee compensation and trouble over managing a bond issue. Grissom says that's not the case.
Still, Guzmán sued the college over retaliation. Earlier this year, the Governing Board agreed to settle with Guzmán for $500,000. Grissom says that the "one-time expenditure" to pay off Guzmán isn't greatly contributing to the $5 million shortfall.