Senate presents resolution
The Bakersfield College Academic Senate recently presented its budget resolution to the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees at a recent board meeting. The meeting took place April 12 at BC.
The “Senate Resolution on Keeping Budget Reduction Impacts ‘Furthest from the Students’” is a recommendation to KCCD on how to deal with budget cuts, with keeping the cuts “furthest from the students” a top priority.
The resolution also calls for “transparency and timely and ongoing disclosure on the part of the KCCD in the following areas: plans and rationales for budget reductions for all segments of the district including district administration, the value of all assets and investments owned by the district (stocks, bonds, land, reserves for unfunded liabilities, etc.), and the legal uses of such resources.”
Mary O’Neal, president of the KCCD Community College Association, the faculty union for KCCD, said that this clause in the resolution is addressing $12 million that the Board of Trustees moved out of the general fund in February of 2011.
“When they moved it out of the general unrestricted fund reserve, it no longer showed up as money available to them,” O’Neal said. “However, at the time that they moved it, Tom Burke [KCCD Chief Financial Officer], made it very clear that that money would always be available if we needed to use it. Now, we find ourselves in this budget situation, and they say, ‘no, we’re not going to use that money during this budget crisis.’”
O’Neal said there are three talking points that the CCA is bringing to “every single meeting that any CCA person or leadership is involved in.”
The first is that the $12 million be put back on the table and used to help prevent further cuts. Secondly, the CCA wants cuts kept furthest away from students. And the final talking point urges transparency with what is being done at the district office.
“We need to know what cuts are being made at the district office so that we, at the colleges, can make our plans accordingly,” she said.
In the resolution, the senate, “requests that the chancellor conduct an audit of administrative tasks, particularly at the district level, to determine which tasks can be eliminated without net financial harm to the direct instruction and support of students …”
KCCD Chancellor Sandra Serrano confirmed that the district is moving forward with an evaluation, and reiterated the concern to keep cuts as far away from students as possible.
“I understand that we need to make cuts that are in the best interest of our students,” Serrano said. “And I must say that … there are reductions that can be made to some courses, maybe even some programs. I don’t know. That’s up to the faculty to look at using data to make some change that is in the best interest of the students.
“Everything has to be on the table and under a microscope,” she said. “Certainly at the district office, we are doing that. We are conducting that audit.”
The Senate’s resolution, though, claims “no evidence is available showing that a comparable review has occurred of reductions down to the bare minimum of administrative or compliance tasks that must be done in order to bring no net financial harm to the district and the direct instruction and support of students.”
The resolution has been fully endorsed by the KCCD CCA, as well as both the Cerro Coso College and Portville College Academic Senates.