After months of deliberation, Clark College on Wednesday adopted a 2019-2020 budget that includes about $3.05 million in across-the-board cuts and reallocations.
But the Vancouver community college budget overall has grown slightly, from $122.9 million to $123.4 million. Its operating budget increased from $69.8 million to $73.2 million.
The Clark College Board of Trustees on Wednesday adopted the budget, which includes the elimination of three programs. College officials have said this year that the budget shifts are essentially broken in half: half cuts, half reallocations.
More than $1.5 million had to be put into “must-fund” items, said Bob Williamson, vice president of administrative services for the college, like salary increases for classified staff who are moving up in their pay scale.
About $1.4 million is going into historically high-need, underfunded areas like the Veterans Resource Center, Guided Pathways, cybersecurity and employee development. College officials have said this year that they’re taking a more proactive approach to budget adjustments than in years past due to ongoing enrollment declines.
“It is about having to move money from one area of the college to another,” college spokeswoman Kelly Love said.
The budget also reflects additional state funding for employee salaries for increases of about 3 percent. The college has also set aside $600,000 for faculty bargaining as it continues mediated negotiations with the Clark College Association of Higher Education. Union members showed up in force at Wednesday’s meeting, as they have in recent months.
“We don’t care what budget we pass,” said Kim Sullivan, president of the faculty union. “We negotiate as if the budget isn’t out and there’s a budget to negotiate.”
Enrollment is expected to decline next school year by about 148 full-time students. Clark is eliminating its machining, business technology and computer-aided design and drafting programs, pointing to particularly low enrollment in those areas.
Six tenured faculty initially received layoff notices as a result of those cuts. Five have been transitioned into other departments, Love said, and one other will be on what’s called a “teach-out,” meaning they’ll remain at the college until students in the program have graduated.
Five full-time employees on yearlong contracts also received layoff notices. One will stay for a teach-out, and four will not have their contracts renewed.
Five classified and five administrative employees were laid off, and 20 vacant positions will not be filled.