Ohlone College President's Office
State of the College Spring 2010
January 29, 2010 / Dr. Gari Browning
(Video is ASL interpreted; it is not captioned; see below for text of speech.)
View WMV file in external video application.
Download State of the College Spring 2010 (PDF).
Text of the speech follows.
I trust you enjoyed the winter break and were able to get in some rest, relaxation, and time with your families. I hope you have returned energized and ready to work together for a positive future.
Faculty of the Month
I am delighted begin today by congratulating Phil Zahorsky, Ohlone professor of music, as the Faculty of the Month. Phil created Chops and the Ohlone Wind Orchestra and is credited with attracting highly skilled players to the groups. Students say Phil is one of the best teachers they've had in college" and that he is “awesome.” He is a valuable member of the Ohlone community. He’s a team player in a department that is remarkable for its cohesiveness and vision. He has served as a quality faculty member for many years and yet has not tired in his pursuit of excellence. This honor is bestowed upon him by his colleagues in the Faculty Senate. Congratulations Phil!
We have some other important members of the Ohlone College community with us today. Would members of the Ohlone College Foundation Board please stand. They are led by Chairman Bob Douglass, who is here today. Bob, please wave. Thank you for the work you do. It’s important to us and it really helps our students. You will hear how much the Foundation is helping later.
We also have Board of Trustees members John Weed and Garrett Yee, and Board Chair Rich Watters. Thanks for your support. I’d like to extend a special hello to Trustee Bill McMillan, who is bravely and optimistically fighting cancer. We hope you are getting better.
(Nadia Lockyer, member of the Governing Board of California Community Colleges)
Although we have not been hiring many new employees lately, there are a few new members of the Ohlone family this year. I would like to mention their names so that you can make them feel welcome. They are
- Robert Adámic, Radio Station Technician
- Jennifer Druley, Senior Human Resources Specialist
- Regina Garges, Coordinator, Health Sciences Lab
- Laura Martinez, Executive Assistant, Athletics
- Shairon Zingsheim, Associate Vice President, Human Resources
- Terra Lee, Professional Development Coordinator, Early Childhood Studies
- Wing Hung, Student Services Assistant, One Stop Career Center
- Kwok-Fai “Benny” Ng, Buildings & Grounds
- Robert Hernandez, Job Developer, One Stop Career Center
- Maria Gonzalez, Theatre Operations Assistant
- Leyla Erol, Regional Specialist, Gallaudet
At the end of the presentation there may be time for questions, so be thinking of what you want to ask.
Update on College Goals
Each semester from 2005 to the present, you have heard about Ohlone’s accomplishments related to the 2005-2010 Strategic Plan. Preparation for the speech requires an assessment of progress of each goal. This is a good thing because continuing to review our accomplishments assures that we continue to focus on our identified priorities.
This is the final semester of the 2005-2010 Strategic Plan, and we are still making progress on it. Once this semester is over, there will be a final report of how we did. In the meantime, I would like to recount to you what we have done during the past semester that addresses our goals.
One of our goals is to promote appreciation for and understanding of diverse races and cultures. Our successes for this goal continue to mount.
International Student Enrollment and Outreach
This fall we recorded our largest ever international student enrollment at Ohlone College. We hosted a total of 270 F-1 and J-1 Visa-holding students from 30 different countries.
Also this fall, Ohlone College welcomed 16 full scholarship students from Egypt for the first of two to four semesters of study with us. Eight of the students are hearing and eight are deaf. Ohlone is one of 14 community colleges in the state to host these ambitious students, courtesy of a U.S. Department of State grant.
I extend my thanks to everyone who has helped make the students feel at home here at Ohlone, whether by serving as a mentor family, hosting extracurricular events, or instructing them in your classes. The students have certainly enriched the multi-cultural life of the campus.
In addition to our ongoing relationships with Chinese colleges, we have recently established new Sister College relationships with universities in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. This fall Cheongju (Chung Jew) University near Seoul, Korea, sent us 5 students who we will be hosting for one or more academic years. In semesters to come, we'll be looking to Cheongju (Chung Jew) University, Meisei (May Say) University in Japan, and Hoa Sen (Hwa Sen) University in Vietnam to host Ohlone College students and faculty on short-term overseas experiences.
Despite the difficult economic climate, Mark Brosamer and Kay Harrison recruited enough students to run the Semester in Sydney program this past fall. This marked the third time Ohlone has conducted this popular study-in-Australia program.
Mark led a group of Ohlone students on an 11-week trip to Sydney, during which the students took classes in art history, anthropology, and English. Stay tuned for video footage from the trip to be posted on our web site! And, if you know any students who may be interested in joining our fall 2010 trip "Down Under," please refer them to the faculty leader of that trip, Jeff Watanabe.
Our longest-standing Sister College relationships, those in China, continue to bloom. This summer, our partner schools in Suzhou (Sue Joe) and Hangzhou (Hong Joe) have committed to hosting Ohlone College faculty in English as a Second Language, music, dance, and information technology for short-term teaching experiences. Our partners have generously offered to pay for international airfare and local accommodations, and the College will supply modest stipends to participating faculty. Please contact XiSheng Fang, Dennis Keller, or Eddie West for more information.
In September, the Smith Center hosted an Indian musical performance, “Rhythm of Rajasthan" by a group of folk musicians and dancers from western Rajasthan, India.
Also in September, Ohlone College and CISCO Systems co-hosted a visit by 12 Deans, Directors, and instructors from vocational schools in a number of different cities in mainland China. Ohlone was chosen by CISCO to host this visit because of the strong reputation of our CISCO Network Academy and our extensive experience with China cultural and educational exchanges. Our Chinese visitors came to Ohlone to learn about how U.S. colleges work with industry to prepare students for technical and vocational careers.
Last semester, Ohlone welcomed a visit by officials of Tsúkuba University in Japan. This visit was hosted by our Deaf Studies department. It allowed our guests to learn about procedures for enrolling and providing educational services to deaf international students.
In November, Ohlone welcomed officials from Hoa Sen (HWA SEN) University, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to both our Fremont and Newark campuses. During this visit a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Ohlone and Hoa Sen (HWA SEN), and we expect this MOU to lay the groundwork for future exchange activity with Vietnam.
The World Forum series, begun in spring 2005 continues this semester with a presentation by Brigit Nolan, who will be speaking about the Eastern Congo Crisis. We are very excited to be hearing from Ms. Nolan. Mark the date of March 2, from noon to 2:00 p.m., and please plan to bring your classes.
Recognition of diversity
A new feature of our Board meetings is proclamations in recognition of diversity celebrations. In October we recognized National Disability Awareness Month, and in November we acknowledged Native American Heritage Month. February is African American History Month. The Board has received a warm response from faculty, staff, and students to this budding tradition.
Our second goal addresses developing into a Learning College and improving student success.
Every semester there are numerous student successes we can point to that validate we are achieving this goal.
Biotech LAB Program
This semester, the first cohort of high school graduates from three different LAB high schools helped form a new LAB Learning Community. We anticipate that the LAB Pathway Program will result in approximately 30 to 60 recent high school graduates entering our LAB Learning Community each year.
Another success is the perfect pass rate by graduates of our Physical Therapy Assistant Program over the last 3 years on their National Board Exams.
Faculty FLEX Hours
Collectively and individually our faculty demonstrate commitment to the learning college concept. Full-time faculty have a contractual obligation to complete 24 hours of flex each year. Last year full-time faculty completed an average of 48 hours of flex–once again double what is required. This is a good indication that our faculty believe in life-long learning and in using flex as professional development (and that our Flex program is really good.)
Hosted CurricUNET Users Group meeting
Over 70 faculty and administrators representing 20 community colleges attended a recent two-day CurricuNET Users Group meeting hosted by Ohlone faculty leaders. The meeting was conducted at the Newark Center and featured presentations by Ohlone faculty on how the CurricUNET system is being used in Program and Services Review, and Distance Education and General Education course development and review. Faculty leaders involved included Rachel Sherman, Deb Parziale, Jon Degallier, and Brenda Ahntholz.
Innovator of the Year
Ohlone faculty member, Jon Degallier, has been elected "INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR" by the Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges and the Statewide Academic Senate for Promising Outcomes Work and Exemplary Research or POWER.
He was honored for
- Development of the Program Improvement Objectives (PIO) survey and reporting tool which aggregates all information entered into one document;
- Coordination and leadership for Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment, including the development of a new program to collect program and course assessments;
- Helping move forward the assessment of the General Education outcomes as chair of the General Education Committee;
- Chairing of the Distance Learning Committee; and
- Developing the Gorilla Survey tool, used by many on campus.
We have made excellent use of a Title III grant received in 2005. I’d like to report to you on the recent learning activities supported by this grant.
Title III funds combined with other college professional development funds were used to provide workshops on active and collaborative learning topics and implementing technology in the curriculum. Throughout the last grant year, over 150 workshops were attended by over 275 faculty. Many of these focused directly on the College’s Title III objective to increase the number of faculty trained in technology-assisted learning while others focused on the value of learning communities. Ten Learning Communities were offered last year. A handbook and other informative literature about the value of learning communities were produced.
The basic skills coordination team consisting of faculty staff and administrators held 10 workshops for faculty to learn about best practices for basic skills students. A new pre-Algebra math course has been created to meet the needs of basic skills students and to make students better prepared for transitioning into algebra and then college level math courses.
The Information Technology department undertook a number of activities to further the goals of the College's Title III Grant. These projects improved curriculum-related systems, the class roster in Datatel, and the Enrollment Management Tool, and provided training on data extraction using QueryBuilder. The Newark campus was also put online with OnBase so now the staff are able to access student records without having to rely on paper being transferred between sites—both efficient and green!
The IT department upgraded all wireless access points in Fremont to provide faster download speeds and broader coverage. The increase in coverage will allow us to expand the areas on our Fremont campus where wi-fi is available, making it more accessible to individuals with their own systems. The IT department implemented a Virtual Private Network (VPN) system that allows users to access the campus network from home or while at conferences.
All of these technological advances support the learning college concept.
Educational Master Plan
We are also in the process of updating our Educational Master Plan, and it will be making its way through shared governance and the Board of Trustees this semester. A task force of Deans and faculty leaders worked on the EMP update this past fall. The Technology Committee has also revised and updated the Information Technology Master Plan to align with our new Strategic Master Plan. The Educational Master Plan and Information Technology Plan will provide a solid foundation for facilities planning and enable us to better serve student learning needs in the future. The Facilities Committee has been involved in the Facilities Master Plan process and an updated plan should be approved by mid spring.
Goal III is about developing strategies to increase the proportion of full-time students by increasing learning communities and cohort programs, and improving course availability and facilities.
In addition to the update on our learning communities I just spoke about, Dean of Research and Planning Mike Bowman reports that the latest available data shows the proportion of full-time students is over 30% fulltime students, an excellent level.
We have also done an exemplary job of preserving course availability in a time when the State is telling us we must become a smaller college and serve fewer students. This availability is undoubtedly making it so our students can get a full load of classes that they need.
We continue to improve our labs and are in the process of acquiring new science modulars that should help the learning experience for current students and allow us space to continue our classes during any future facilities repair or construction.
Another goal is to provide continuous learning for all personnel associated with the District and promote an organizational structure that is adaptable, collegial, and supportive of the Learning College Model.
Deb Parziale’s work on Fixed Flex and other professional development opportunities throughout the year has moved us forward significantly in achieving this goal. We have also conducted some training sessions for managers over the last few months. With the hiring of Shairon Zingsheim as permanent Associate Vice President for Human Resources, we should be able to make even greater strides under the umbrella of our next strategic plan.
Goal V is to promote the health, environmental, cultural, and economic vitality of the communities served by the District.
The Ohlone College Nursing students and several faculty members participated in Alameda County, City of Fremont, H1N1 injection clinics. I congratulate these students and faculty for their community service.
NUMMI Employees Career Transition Services
The College is partnering with the Newark Tri-Cities One-Stop and the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board to provide career transition services to NUMMI employees. The plant is scheduled to stop production March 31st. Earlier this month, the college hosted a job fair for NUMMI employees, and in November Ohlone hosted a meeting of local leaders, led by Ed Montgomery, White House Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, to discuss strategies for recovery with local leaders and determine how the federal government can support the recovery of auto communities like NUMMI. Dr. Montgomery was accompanied by a team of representatives from key federal agencies that hoped to identify ways in which they can help.
In addition to the work with NUMMI, the College’s workforce development and community education programs are offering courses for unemployed and displaced workers in Microsoft 2007, Solar technologies, and CISCO Certified Networking. Community Education has expanded the Ohlone for Kids program to include afterschool courses in journalism and writing. Partnering with academic programs, Community Education is now offering a cadre of health, wellness, dance, and athletic classes and camps.
Ohlone Fremont Facilities
We are also connecting with the community by presenting information at meetings of various governmental and service organizations on the state of Ohlone facilities and the need to update them.
A goal we have done very well on is to promote and maintain an accessible, clean, safe and healthy college environment through continuous engagement of students and college personnel in campus preparedness, wellness, beautification, universal design, and environmental sustainability.
Ohlone has received LEED Platinum Certification for the Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology and anticipates gold level certification for the new Student Services Building, which opened for business at the beginning of the fall semester.
The goal to increase public and private funds for educational programs, equipment, and facilities through entrepreneurial activities, grants, and the college foundation has helped the college in significant ways.
Ohlone College Foundation
The Ohlone College Foundation continues to provide needed resources to our students. We enjoyed a record level of scholarships and awards ($50,000) in the 2008-2009 fiscal year. This year, 2009-2010, we will exceed $90,000. In September our annual golf tournament to benefit athletics netted $41,000 despite the tough economy. And the new HOSTS (Helping One Student To Succeed) provides easy access for students to find and apply for scholarships for which they are qualified.
Ohlone had the benefit of 19 major grants last year, four of which were new. Some of the benefits of these grants included outfitting a computer lab in Hyman Hall with new computers, purchasing a portable “Sim Man” for the Nursing and Respiratory Therapy programs, High School Outreach for the cultural arts, and Job Retraining in the Solar Industry.
And some exciting news--very recently we received the first check from a two hundred thousand dollar donation from the East Bay Community Foundation to support the renovation of our Deaf Studies/ASL Lab.
In response to organized and focused effort to increase non-apportionment income to offset some of our fiscal shortfall, so far this year we have added an estimated $350,000 over last year. Areas contributing the greatest amounts to this success were international student tuition, the English Language Institute (which is a fee-based program for international students), and Community Education.
Goal VIII addresses the development and implementation of a district-wide facilities plan.
We have been developing a Facilities Master Plan for the Fremont campus over the last few years. The plan helps us assess the condition of the campus and provides the foundation for a message to the public about the state of our facilities. This information will be helpful if we decide to pursue a general obligation bond. Our next step will be to produce an all-district plan that takes into account the distribution of enrollment among Fremont, Newark, and the E-campus.
We have been able to continue to make progress on our goals because we have worked together for our students. We have put the good of Ohlone ahead of our individual interests. That’s a good direction that helps us keep our collective eye on our vision for the future.
Things to Celebrate
Ohlone has a lot to celebrate from all areas of the campus in addition to the planned achievements I just mentioned.
Ohlone College Employees earn Alliant University Degrees
Alliant University doctoral student and our Vice President of Student Services Ron Travenick completed all requirements for his Ed.D. and is now widely known as Doctor Travenick. He becomes the second of the cohort supported by the College and the Foundation to achieve this goal. The first doctor was Perri Gallaher, a member of our English faculty. Joe McLauglin, former Dean of Deaf Studies just successfully defended his dissertation. Others are making good progress.
ASOC is enjoying its most active senate membership ever, a total of 29 dedicated and enthusiastic students serving in student government.
In the past year Ohlone has become prominent in Statewide Student Government, now holding three positions at the region and statewide levels. At the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, Andie Morhous is Ohlone’s Associated Students Legislative Representative. Our ASOC Vice President Ngan Vu serves as the Communications Officer for Region IV, which consists of 13 colleges from Hayward and Livermore to Monterey.
ASOC President Kevin Feliciano is the Chair of the Student Senate for the Region, and earlier this month he was elected to the office of Region Senator for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges Student Council. He will be one of 30 students who represent the nearly 2.9 million CCC students system wide. We are proud of the involvement and leadership of these students. Congratulations!
ASOC has also done several great things to improve facilities for Ohlone College students recently. They opened a recreation room at the Newark Center, and they completed the Cafeteria Modernization Project, replacing the old furniture, installing acoustical wall panels, and painting the space to make it more appealing to students. Go and see it!
In Student Services, Financial Aid reports that Pell awards to Ohlone students have doubled this fall from $500 thousand dollars in past years to over a million dollars.
Admissions & Records
Admissions and Records has worked hard to better control enrollment during this time of extremely high demand. Faculty just received the first of five updates that Admissions and Records will be providing throughout the semester with “just in time” information about no shows, drops, adds, grades, and deadlines. Their goal is to make sure our records are accurate and to meet student demand to the extent we can.
Lucky Lofton, Director of Facilities, and Dr. Ron Quinta, Dean of Science and Technology, and their faculty and staff are to be congratulated for the completion of the new Physics and Engineering Labs in Building 8, Rooms 8104 and 8105. This is part of the Educational Master Plan to cluster science labs in Building 8 and has been funded by the secondary effects budget within Measure A Bond dollars. The Physics and Engineering Labs are already sharing equipment between the two programs and others in Building 8 and are now served by our lab technician Georgina Gonzalez-Wilson—a big improvement since there has been no lab tech support for the past 10 years in Building 8.
Research and Planning reports that Ohlone students who have completed personal development classes taught by our counselors have .3 to .5 higher GPAs and dramatically better retention (a jump from 50% to 90%) than students who have not taken those courses.
You will recall that Ohlone athletic teams earned 6 Conference Championships last year, an unprecedented number for a community college district. Our student athletes have a 90% transfer rate, most on scholarships. In fact, every one of Ohlone’s sophomore baseball team members earned a scholarship to a 4 year university last year. Our success is likely to continue as this year the men’s basketball team is currently ranked #1 in the state out of 93 teams.
As you can see, Ohlone continues to reach high levels of excellence in all sorts of endeavors. These achievements are yours. Your efforts and dedication produce these spectacular results. I appreciate your efforts. I respect that you strive to meet the needs of our students. It is the right focus. I also recognize that your efforts and enthusiasm continue despite the pay cuts everyone has agreed to. I especially thank those who really can’t afford these cuts. Your actions are an example of Ohlone coming together that other colleges just can’t match.
Strategic Planning & Making Decisions
Another whole-college effort occurred last year as we developed our 2010-2015 Strategic Master Plan. You remember that we gathered information on community needs and how well we were meeting those needs. We also determined the extent to which we were achieving the goals of the 2005-2010 Strategic Master Plan, what our Program Reviews said we needed to do from the grass-roots level, and the areas we identified for improvement as a result of our comprehensive Accreditation Self Study. The analysis of these assessments, plus review of the college mission and values, provided guidance for our new 2010-2015 college goals. We also created a vision for the future.
The thorough and collegial process we used to develop our new plan had a purpose. We now have agreed upon principles and priorities that will serve as the foundation for future decisions. The process we used enlisted our best collective thinking about the good of Ohlone College. We all stepped back, away from our individual, department, and area concerns, and took a global look at the college. We created a future vision for Ohlone, and we did it together. So as we go forward, we now have two things—a list of what we think is important to accomplish over the next few years and a way to make informed decisions. We will assess the needs, determine how well we are doing in meeting the needs, figure out where we fall short, design how to address those shortfalls, and take the necessary steps to move forward.
In our process we also took a close look at our mission and values. Each time we make a decision, we should be using the mission and values as a touchstone to keep us on track. Ohlone’s values are powerful statements that serve us well as we weigh competing interests and pressures. I’d like to remind you of what they say.
- We provide life-long learning opportunities for students, college personnel, and the community.
- We open access to higher education and actively reach out to underserved populations.
- We promote diversity, inclusiveness, and openness to differing viewpoints.
- We maintain high standards in our constant pursuit of excellence.
- We value trust, respect, and integrity.
- We promote teamwork and open communication.
- We practice innovation and actively encourage risk-taking and entrepreneurship.
- We demonstrate stewardship for our human, financial, physical, and environmental resources.
Finally, our process was collaborative. We conducted surveys, group interviews, emails and web postings, committee meetings and retreats, an all-campus summit to maximize input and involvement, and we discussed and analyzed the data together. The desired result is a plan that is widely known and understood. This level of involvement of the campus community should be our goal for future decision input. Our shared governance processes should enable us to disburse information to all who are interested and to cast a wide net to capture good ideas.
I like this approach to involving the college community in decisions with broad impact. I have found that by identifying the underlying principles I want the college to strive for, seemingly difficult decisions are much easier to make, and people have a much easier time understanding why a decision was made. Actions become much more transparent and consistent. We used some basic principles in the development of our strategic plan that will bring us to good decisions for the college in the coming years. For instance,
- we identified our principles in the form of values up front;
- we thought through what we wanted to achieve before we started working;
- we agreed on terminology to ease communication;
- we committed to a collegial process that tapped the ideas of as many people as possible;
- we based our decisions on evidence;
- we created a vision for the future; and
- we committed to work together to achieve the vision.
Next Year New Plan
In our new Strategic Master Plan we have identified the following goals that cover these areas:
- Improve student learning and achievement
- Support career programs
- Improve staff learning
- Use resources effectively and efficiently for student learning and achievement
- Lead the community in sustainability
- Enhance acceptance of diversity
- Increase access for underserved populations
- Engage the college community in improvement
I feel confident that we can move forward with many of these next year. We will certainly continue to offer high quality educational programs and continue to improve them. With the progress to date on training unemployed workers, we have a great start on expanding our career programs. Our attention to budget and planning positions us well to use our resources effectively.
Fremont Campus Facilities
One area we need to address quickly is the poor condition of the Fremont campus. You can help by getting the word out in the local community. As you know, we need to fix some basics.
- Our Fremont campus has 40-year-old, deteriorating electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems, no longer able to accommodate the demands of computers and modern technology which are critical teaching and learning tools today.
- Many classrooms no longer meet current earthquake safety standards.
- Our science labs are in need of proper ventilation to allow for the safe use of chemicals.
- Repairs to the aging plumbing system are needed to prevent flooding and water damage.
- The campus has disabled and accessibility challenges for all faculty, staff, and students.
- Classrooms need up-to-date technology.
- We need to install and repair fire safety equipment.
We want to continue to provide quality higher education for our community as we have since 1965. We need to upgrade this campus soon in order to do so.
Program and Services Review
Another area where you can help is Program and Services Review. We are moving toward a simple annual update in CurricUNET. If your program or unit review schedule is last year, this year, or next year, plan to use the new CurricUNET module. Areas that are “up for” review in 2011-12 are also encouraged to complete their review in the new module before the end of the 2010-11 year. Mike Bowman and Deb Parziale are available to help programs and departments use the module.
Once you have your review in, then it is just a matter of updating it on an annual basis, moving us to ongoing program review linked to the college planning process, including budget. This makes program review central to institutional planning.
The College Council met this week to review college planning and begin to provide direction on how we will begin to execute our plan next year. We also discussed their responsibility as college leaders and representatives of the College Council to think globally for the good of Ohlone. I challenge you all to do that so the College can benefit from your innovation. As we worked together through the budget situation last year, many good ideas came forward that we were able to use to our benefit. Thank you for those ideas.
I decided not to begin my presentation today with the budget because that would have sent the wrong message to you. I want us to be thinking more broadly and not to become scared or stifled by the budget challenges. Together we are dealing with them. We want to be ready for what is beyond the current crisis.
Addressing the Budget Shortfall for 2009-2010
We have really worked well together to address our budget shortfall this year. Here’s what we’ve done and results to date:
- We’ve had a hiring freeze, or frost, in place for all vacancies. That means I review every vacancy to see if we can avoid hiring. In 2008-09 $1.6 million dollars in savings from the freeze helped us balance our budget. The frost continues.
- We have set aside money for anticipated mid-year cuts. Although it doesn’t look like these cuts will occur, other cuts equal to or more than what we expected are quite possible.
- We are working to increase non-state revenue to the District and have succeeded in generating about three hundred and fifty thousand dollars over last year at this time.
- We have used our one million dollar Rainy Day reserve to help close our budget gap for this year. The result is that we no longer have a Rainy Day fund. If we want it back, we will have to save it up again.
- We are implementing plans for permanent budget reductions.
- We have continued efforts to reduce the receivables. The most recent press has yielded approximately 130 thousand dollars in debt payments from students.
- Purchasing and the Warehouse started conducting surplus property sales on the web and returning money to the general fund.
- We negotiated a contract through a third‐party supplier for fixed price natural gas purchases through the winter, resulting in savings of tens of thousands of dollars.
- We are managing our enrollment to assure we are not over the state funded cap. We have used the new enrollment managing tool to reduce sections in summer and adjust the schedule to maintain the fall and spring terms as much as possible. This maximizes access to our highest demand courses.
- We conducted a zero-based functioning analysis to determine how we could maintain programs and services most efficiently.
- We implemented some innovative ideas including employee donations to the general fund and the Supplemental Employee Retirement Plan (SERP) for all eligible employees.
- All employee groups agreed to five unpaid furlough days during the spring semester. The offering generated an anticipated six hundred fifty thousand dollars in salary savings for the 2009-10 year and helped the District close an anticipated budget deficit that at one time approached $3 million and avoid layoffs. Together the SERP, the use of the rainy day reserve fund, and other budget strategies helped close the deficit and balance the budget.
How well have we stuck to our principles so far?
Last year at this time I laid down some basic principles for our budget decisions during these lean times. They were:
- First, we must ensure Ohlone's fiscal stability over the next few years.
- To the greatest extent possible, we want to protect programs and services that directly impact students and to minimize reductions in our staff. and
- We want budget decisions that will be transparent and collegial.
I believe our actions have been consistent with these principles.
- We continue to be fiscally stable and in good shape compared to other colleges. Although we will use up our one million dollar rainy day reserve, we have our 5% board reserve and small amounts earmarked for special projects, like Program Review project funding, which we can use differently if we need to.
- Although we have reduced our course offerings, we have preserved our academic and career programs. We are working diligently to maintain services to students, but they are jeopardized because they are the direct targets of state budget cuts to the community colleges. As our enrollment is reduced, we are rethinking where the greatest need for services is and shifting resources accordingly. Reductions to staff have been through attrition and the SERP. Because these reductions occur wherever they occur, (they are unplanned) we cannot assume we will not need to replace some. We are analyzing carefully where we will need to re-hire to preserve programs and services at a functioning level. And we will work with the bargaining units on the impact of staff reductions.
- We made efforts to assure that budget decisions were transparent and collegial—posting of budget updates from the Chancellor’s Office and the Community College League of California; a budget blog to collect your ideas; regular reports and discussion of the budget situation at each meeting of College Council and posting of meeting minutes; budget forums; posting of Ohlone budget-related documents. Still there is more that could be done to keep the college community informed and participating as we go forward.
Budget Situation Prediction for Next Year (2010-2011): Keeping the Budget in Perspective
Looking back to last January in the fall, it was clear how much the fiscal picture had changed in eight months. I told you in August that our share of state 2009-2010 money looked nothing like we thought back in January. Despite how much the budget situation is likely to change in the next few months, I want to tell you about this year’s Governor’s budget proposal from his recent speech. His budget forecast was bleak—“a $6.6 billion shortfall for 2009-10 and $13.3 billion shortfall for 2010-11 to total $19.9 billion shortfall over the next 18 months.” However, his comments for Community Colleges were mostly positive.
The Governor’s proposal for the Community College budget he proposed:
- 2.2% growth;
- 0.38% COLA reduction;
- no student fee increase;
- a shift of EOPS and Part-time parity money to Career and Technical Education programs;
- increased flexibility to how colleges use categorical funding;
- more revenue delays; and
- suspension of Cal Grant Awards.
This proposal basically shields Community Colleges from further deep cuts, which is good, of course. And it is probably the best we can expect. We hope to hang on to this budget proposal without additional cuts. The State anticipates significant pressure from areas that have seen drastic cuts and will seek to have the education budget cut further to give them some relief. The State is also relying on receiving about $7 billion in Federal stimulus funds that may or may not be fully realized. The May Revise will give us a better indicator of what’s going to occur in 2010-11, but current projections indicate the State will not turn around financially until 2013-14.
For Ohlone, we need to continue to be watchful of our expenses through the remainder of the current fiscal year so we can have as positive an ending balance as possible. We planned to use the $1 million rainy day reserve to help us through this year and a positive ending balance helps us use less of the reserve.
Projected SERP savings will help us balance the budget in the coming year, but we need to keep as many SERP vacancies as possible unfilled.
Some categorical programs will continue to see their funding erode and it’s important for those managers to plan now how to deliver services with less funds.
We need to be watchful about how we use time. Please to be careful not to create additional work in this time of lean staffing. Remember that our greatest expense is personnel.
Putting the Budget Situation in Perspective
We are not through the difficult times yet. As predicted, next year may be worse than this one. However, it looks like we have a chance not to have further severe cuts. So my message to you today is that we should not be discouraged or hampered by the current budget situation. We are doing everything we can, and I will continue to keep you informed. We need to keep the budget in perspective so that we continue to move forward together. Think long term and stick together!
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