Shoreline Community College board of trustees approves measures to meet budget shortfalls from enrollment decline

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Shoreline Community College campus
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

After several years of continual enrollment growth, Shoreline Community College has experienced a decline in enrollment and faces a $2.3 million shortfall. The College is focused on realigning its expenses and revenue to bring its budget into balance for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Employee reduction in force may be necessary
At the January 22, 2020 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board approved the President’s recommendation that an employee reduction in force may be necessary, authorizing the College to begin the proposed budget reduction process. In March, the Board will formally approve any reductions, with the full 2020-21 budget adopted in late June.

The proposed adjustments for the 2020-21 budget include reductions in employee positions, goods and services, and other support, such as part-time faculty hiring, non-mandatory travel, and stipends.

While proposed employee reductions have been identified as necessary in several areas, the College has also determined unmet position needs in others. With this mind, several new positions are being created to address specific unmet need across all impacted employee groups. The net result of the proposed changes to employee positions would be:
  • Administrative/Exempt – Reduction of 6 positions, creation of 1.5 positions (net change of -4.5 positions)
  • Classified Staff – Reduction of 12 positions, creation of 7.25 positions (net change of -4.75 positions)
  • Faculty – Reduction of 1 position, creation of 3 positions (net change of +2 positions)

These proposed position adjustments will allow the College to better streamline operations and improve how the College helps students to enroll, persist, and graduate.

“The College is thoughtfully pursuing ways to bring our budget into balance. Because colleges are people-focused organizations, it is unfortunate that we are unable to significantly realign the budget without affecting some employee positions – and we are very sensitive to the impact this has on our students, employees, and the communities we serve. 
"However, we have prioritized the proposed reductions in a way that minimize impact on students and employees as much as possible,” said President Cheryl Roberts, Ed.D.

Men's soccer team may be discontinued
One recommendation presented to the Board of Trustees is to discontinue the Shoreline’s men’s soccer team in fall 2020, in the face of a reduced Athletics budget related to a decline in student fees. The recommendation is also based on a team history of low academic achievement, persistence, and retention as well as increased costs for insurance and facility maintenance. The College would continue offering six other competitive sports, including women’s soccer.

Dental Hygiene program not on list of budget reductions 
Some students and employees have expressed fears about Shoreline’s Dental Hygiene program being eliminated, though it is not on the list of budget reductions for 2020-21. The College is actively collaborating with key faculty and community partners to identify short- and long-term solutions to a two-fold challenge: locating appropriate space to house the program and addressing the program’s high cost of instruction. Updates about solutions will be shared in the coming weeks as conversations continue.

“The proposed budget changes that have been provided to the Board of Trustees are grounded in clear principles that align the College with our strategic plan, ensure adequate reserves for financial stability, and allow for further innovation and workflow efficiencies,” Roberts added. 
“We are now entering a problem-solving mode with College constituents to fine tune our recommendations before the Board of Trustees finalizes the budget this spring.”

In fall 2019, each campus department completed a self-review assessment. This data heavily informed the College executive team’s systematic budget review and rationale for the proposed changes. The new budget would go into effect July 1, 2020.

Founded in 1964, Shoreline Community College offers more than 100 rigorous academic and professional/technical degrees and certificates to meet the lifelong learning needs of its diverse students and communities. Dedicated faculty and staff are committed to the educational success of its 10,000+ students who hail from across the United States and over 50 countries.


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