St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to hear public comments and concerns about the proposed recommendations from the STLCC Budget Response Team to address the college’s current financial realities. The board will listen to comments and will not vote to take action on any recommendations at this meeting.
The intent is to give a voice to the STLCC community in response to the financial concerns of the College.
To date, STLCC has taken several steps to reduce its budget:
- A 20 percent reduction in the number of administrators within academic affairs and at the leadership level.
- Voluntary separation incentive plan for full-time employees.
- Reduced operating costs by reviewing and analyzing spending.
- Freezing non-critical and unfilled positions.
- Selling the Cosand Center building, the administrative offices of the college, located in downtown St. Louis.
The College expects tonight’s meeting to draw considerable attention from students and faculty. The board will follow similar practices for public comments at a regular meeting. Those who wish to speak must sign up, and will be given two minutes to address the board. Written comments can also be sent to the board through the associate for board relations.
Tasked by the trustees
In July 2017, the board asked STLCC administration to address concerns regarding the budget and the financial stability of the College. Of many actions taken, a Budget Response Team was created that involved five work groups: Employee Optimization, Employee Benefits Analysis, Employee Overload/Overtime/Sabbatical Analysis, Program Review/Consolidation and Departmental Outsourcing and Consolidation. Work groups involved administration, faculty, staff, employee and union representatives; each group was tasked with providing input to the Budget Response Team to present to the Board prior to its Nov. 30 meeting. All employees were invited to voluntarily participate in a work group.
A public work session was held on Oct. 30 to focus on the recommendations of the Budget Response Team. Documents provided to the board were for discussion purposes only.
Currently, there are three significant areas contributing to STLCC’s budget situation: a $5 million reduction in funds from the state of Missouri due to declines in tax revenue; new federal accounting standards that require STLCC to cover an unfunded portion of the Public School Retirement System for employees, which has resulted in STLCC being out of compliance with board policy for unrestricted net assets, or reserves; and a 35 percent decline in enrollment between 2011 and 2015.
Under the leadership of Jeff L. Pittman, Ph.D., chancellor, STLCC recognizes that failure to act to address the budget situation will result in financial instability, putting the College’s future in jeopardy as support from the state continues to decrease.
It is a priority for STLCC to control expenses to ensure that tuition and fees remain affordable for students, while allowing the College to serve an increased demand for training in growing workforce areas such as allied health professions
STLCC is in a similar position as other area colleges that have implemented reductions in force to address budget issues.