We have dealt with fiscal challenges for a few years and have made sacrifices to remain fiscally solvent.
This year we were able to forward a balanced 2016-17 Final Budget to the Board of Trustees for approval. We wouldn’t have been able to do so if not for the resourceful and determined work of our dedicated faculty, staff, managers, confidential staff and administrators. I am very proud to be working with colleagues who remained calm, helped implement cost controls and continued to keep sustaining quality education programs for students our number one priority.
Our challenge moving forward is finding solutions to close the $1.5 million 2017-18 budget deficit and positioning our college to address its long term structural budget issues. In my October 11th budget update message to the college community I provided a list of cost containment and revenue enhancement ideas that constituent group leaders and the Cabinet developed to close this deficit. The ideas focused on reducing our operational and physical plant expenses, taking advantage of resignations and retirements and transferring some general funded expenses to categorical funds were appropriate.
While the actionable ideas will get us near the $1.5 million 2017-18 budget deficit, we are still $400,000 short of closing the gap. Moving forward, we have to continue to be careful and frugal in our expenditures. We will have to reduce our overall personnel costs and implement a reorganization to improve inefficiencies of our general and categorically funded areas. We will also have to strategically reinvest funds in faculty and staff positions that will help the District increase enrollment.
I want stress again how important it is that we all remain cognizant that if we don’t address our structural budget problem, the projected 2018-19 deficit will grow by $800,000 to approximately $2.3 million. Admittedly with so many variables on both the expense and revenues sides (for instance the 2016-17 FTES enrollment, health insurance rates, energy costs, one-time moneys from the State, etc.) it is too soon to know exactly the size of budget deficit we will need to close in 2018-19. However, please keep in mind that if the fiscal situation worsens in the coming years, we must take an even harder look at personnel reduction measures and revenue-enhancing opportunities.
I continue to welcome your ideas to help our budget planning, particularly in areas you know well within your own departments and divisions. I am encouraging faculty, staff, management and administrative leaders to engage their colleagues in thinking these matters through.