President/Superintendent's Blog


Summary of the September 1, 2020 Board of Trustees Meeting


Published on 9/1/2020.

Comments/Board Business

Member Comments: President Dr. Mullery thanked Angelina Hill and Cathy Cox for their Board workshop presentation explaining the open resource education initiative. She also thanked Cynthia Petrusha for taking time on the weekend to make sure that the trustees were taken care of during the workshop. 

Dr. Mullery also announced the resignation of Dr. Bonnie Deister from the Board. She acknowledged Dr. Deister for everything that she had accomplished for the District.

Trustee Kelley mentioned how important the Board workshop was to him. He also discussed a Chronicle of Higher Education article (which I attached to this summary).

Trustee Biggin reminded the Trustees about the CCCT Thursday webinars. She also mentioned that she visited with the new KT Manager.

Trustee Mathews noted that she and Trustee Biggin met with  Del Norte Campus Director Rory Johnson. She also stated that she attended several important webinars.

Reschedule December Organizational Meeting of the Board of Trustees: A revision of the Education Code now requires that community college boards hold their annual organizational meeting within a fifteen (15) day period commencing with the date upon which the elected governing board member takes office on December 11, 2020.  To comply with the new law, our Trustees agreed to move the date of its organizational meeting from December 3 to 15.

Consent Calendar Action Items

Approve/Ratify Personnel Actions: The Trustees took action on several personnel related actions. They approved the employment of three new classified staff. Please join me in welcoming Emily Chang (Instructional Support Specialist III – ASC), Amber Dennis (Interim ECE Assistant II), and Robin Shaffer (Interim ECE Assistant II) to our college community.

I am also happy to announce that several staff members had their employee status changed. Effective this month Lynn Durkee will serve as a DSP Technician, Aimin Huang as a Library Technician, Jennifer Levang as an Interim ECE Assistant II, Mariya Shea McPhearson as an ECE Assistant II, Pru Ratliff as the Director of Adult and Community Education, Shannon Walkley as a Student Development Advisor (TRiO Del Norte), and Jordan Walsh as a Student Development Advisor (Eureka).

The Board approved the two pre-retirement workload reduction requests for 2020-21. Marla Gleave, Professor of Physical Education and Athletics, will reduce her load to 70 percent. Professor of Psychology Deanna Herrera will reduce her load to 80 percent.

It is widely accepted that our associate faculty are indispensable in our ability to fulfil our academic mission.  That said I want to welcome two new associate faculty to the district. Charlotte Cowan will join the Eureka Nursing ranks and Angela Schauber will serve as an Anthropology instructor at Pelican Bay.

The Trustees ratified my decision to accept three resignations and one retirement. Yavanna Reynolds resigned as an ECE Associate, Manuel Saavedra resigned as a Student Services Specialist IV, and Joselle Wagner resigned as the EOPS Assistant Director. Mark Sigsworth (Radar) retired as the Lead Public Safety Officer. Please join me in wishing our colleagues well as they start new chapters in their lives.

Approve Budget Calendar: Each year the Board approves a budget calendar that we endeavor to meet. I want to highlight a few of the budget items that are included in the calendar and approved by the Board.

  • The Program Review Committee will rank the plans in November 2020 - February 2021
  • The Governor will release his preliminary budget proposal in January 2021
  • We will send the College’s preliminary budget to the Board of Trustees for approval in March 2021
  • The Governor will disseminate his May Revise Budget in May 2021
  • We will finalize the Tentative Budget in May 2021 following the Governor’s May Revision
  • We will send a Tentative Budget to the Board of Trustees for approval in June 2021 that will allow us to start spending money on July 1
  • The Chancellor’s Office will release the Advanced Apportionment report in July 2021(contingent on a timely State Budget Act approval)
  • We will develop the Final Budget between July and September 2021
  • We will hold the Public hearing and send the Final Budget to Board of Trustees for approval in September 2021 (contingent upon State Budget approval 45 days prior)
  • All Program review staffing requests are due in October 2021

Action/Discussion Items

Monthly Financial Status Report:  The Board approved the monthly financial status report for the first month of this fiscal year. I want to call attention to the fact that we are planning three transfers out from the general fund: $90,000 to the Child Development Center, $50,911 to the Shively Farm, and $645,000 to the OPEB fund.

Approve the 2020-21 Final Budget: Building the District’s 2020-21 Final Budget was a complicated exercise in fiscal planning given the uncertainty surrounding the State’s solution to a $54.3 billion structural budget shortfall. As we have discussed in the past, the COVID‑19 pandemic has had far‑reaching negative impacts on California’s economy. The final spending plan agreed upon by the Governor and Legislature reflected an estimated $54.3 billion General Fund budget problem for the 2020‑21 budget. This budget shortfall was estimated by the Governor in his May Revision and is the net result of a number of factors, including (most notably):

  • Lower Revenues. The most significant cause of the state’s budget problem is a substantial decline in revenues. Largely because of a severe decline in economic activity, the Governor’s estimated that revenues in both 2019‑20 and, most notably, 2020‑21, declined substantially between January and May.
  • Higher Caseload‑Related Spending. Another major driver of the state’s budget problem is higher caseload‑related costs across the state’s safety net programs, including: Medi‑Cal, California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), and CalFresh. In particular, the budget assumes a 9.2 percent year‑over‑year increase in Medi‑Cal enrollees, a 51.1 percent increase in CalFresh participation, and a 42.4 percent increase in CalWORKs participating families.

What follows is a description of the solutions adopted in the 2020‑21 Budget Act to address the shortfall in California's budget.

  • Make Baseline Adjustments and Assumptions (19 percent). First, the spending plan uses $10.3 billion in adjustments and assumptions that do not involve choices about changes to current law. For example, compared to the May Revision, the spending plan assumes revenues will be higher and CalWORKS caseload will be lower, resulting in improvements to the budget bottom line.
  • Use Reserves (15 percent). The budget package authorizes $8.3 billion in reserve withdrawals to cover the state’s General Fund budget shortfall.
  • Increase Revenues (8 percent). The budget package included two actions that the lawmakers estimate will increase tax revenues by an estimated $4.4 billion in 2020‑21. First, the budget temporarily suspends net operating loss (NOL) deductions, preventing corporations with net income over $1 million from using NOLs in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Second, the budget limits businesses from claiming more than $5 million in tax credits (excluding the low‑income housing tax credit) in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
  • Adjust K‑14 Education Spending (27 percent). The budget provides state spending at the constitutional minimum level for schools, largely achieved by providing $12.5 billion in payment deferrals and $2.2 billion in other adjustments. (Deferrals allow the state to reduce the budgeted spending level on schools while allowing schools to continue to operate a larger program by borrowing or using cash reserves.)
  • Reduce Spending (15 percent). There are $8.3 billion in spending reductions across the budget. Many of these spending reductions—such as reductions to state employee pay and lower spending on higher education and the judicial branch.
  • Shift Costs and Borrowing (10 Percent). The budget takes a number of actions that shift costs, either from the General Fund to other funds or from the current year to future years. Together, these actions address $5.5 billion of the budget problem.
  • Use Federal Funds (5 percent). In a number of places the spending plan uses federal funds to offset state spending, which partially addresses the budget problem.

The State’s Budget Act maintained apportionment at 2019-20 levels with no COLA; however, the budget also included $1.45 billion in apportionment payment deferrals from fiscal year 2020-21 to 2021-22 (rather than cuts to funding). In other words, the apportionment we earned will not be received until future years. What follows is the current deferral schedule. Please keep in mind that this may change.

  • $253,243,000 of the February 2021 apportionment revenue shall be deferred to November 2021
  • $300,000,000 of the March 2021 apportionment revenue shall be deferred to October 2021
  • $300,000,000 of the April 2021 apportionment revenue shall be deferred to September 2021
  • $300,000,000 of the May 2021 apportionment revenue shall be deferred to August 2021
  • $300,000,000 of the June 2021 apportionment revenue shall be deferred to July 2021

Although the above deferrals were all reduced from the 2020-21 Student Centered Funding Formula (SCFF) budget, the deferrals are too large to be made solely from the SCFF budget. 

The current estimated 2020-21 State’s General Fund need is $2.6 billion, leaving a balance of just over $1.1 billion to fund the SCFF budget for the first seven months of the fiscal year before the deferrals kick in.  However, based on the traditional monthly apportionment schedule, available State General Fund for the SCFF would be exhausted in November. To address this shortage, the Budget Act authorized the Chancellor’s Office to defer categorical program funding and transfer those resources to the SCFF budget schedule.

The August revision of the Advanced Apportionment will transfer $415 million in SEA program resources to the SCFF. The SEA funds will be included as part of the $1.45 billion budget deferral.

We received a memo from the Chancellor’s Office on August 31 (after our Final Budget was prepared) that updated the 2019-20 Second Principal (P2) and 2020-2021 advance apportionments. The memo stated that to align General Fund disbursements with available resources, all community college district will have to absorb a reduction of 0.85% in their general fund apportionments. The estimated need is based on the General Fund appropriated in the Budget Act and the amount deferred from the SCFF appropriation into the 2021-22 fiscal year.

CR’s 2020-21 Final Budget assumed the 2020-21 Advanced Apportionment Report available revenue of $29,847,195. This Advanced amount was based off the Student Centered Funding Formula calculation and not Hold Harmless. We also assumed that we will continue to minimize operational costs and improve operational efficiencies, we will participate in a Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note (TRAN) to burrow enough cash to cover operating expenditures from February 2021 through June 2021, and that approximately $5 million in unrestricted general fund apportionment payments will be deferred.

I concurred with the Budget Advisory Committee’s (BAC) recommendation to focus additional fiscal resources on shoring up our fund reserves, taking care of our retirees by putting more funds in the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) fund, and setting money aside for the inevitable increase in PERS/STRS Pension rates. It is critically important to note that although our Final Budget includes significant transfers out to the OPEB and Pension funds, as well as an ending fund balance of 9.0%, this is based off of the revenue level the District is authorized to earn, and doesn't reflect the revenue that it may actually receive. In other words, the District will not have the cash to back the fund balances until future years.

Other key takeaways from our Final Budget include the following:

  • The non-resident fee was increased by twenty-five dollars per unit, however due to an estimated decrease in non-resident enrollment, revenue is expected to decrease.
  • The total unrestricted general fund expenditure budget for 2020-21 totals $28,660,458, which is a decrease of $1,712,811, or 5.6%, from 2019-20 expenditures.
  • Decreases to the salary budget were driven by retirements, resignations, layoffs, step freezes for Cabinet members, stipend suspensions for Board of Trustee members, and holding several vacant positions open.
  • The benefits budget was also decreased as a result of the decrease in positions.
  • The other operating budget reflects a decrease to the athletics budget as well as an increase to cover the estimated remaining balance of the “incurred but not reported” (IBNR) charges from North Coast Schools Medical Insurance Group.
  • As any employee position becomes vacant, the Executive Cabinet will consider whether the position can be reduced or restructured for savings. All temporary employee requests are also considered by Executive Cabinet to assess the critical need of the request as well as available funding options. Temporary savings from these initiatives are included in the 2020-21 Final Budget.
  • The 2020-21 Final Budget for transfers-out provides $90,000 for the Child Development fund, $50,991 for the Shively Farm fund, and $645,000 for the OPEB fund, for $785,991 total.
  • The Budget also includes revenue-contingent transfers-out that will provide an additional $1,500,000 to the OPEB fund and $500,000 to the Pension fund if and/or when the deferred apportionment payments are received.
  • The fund balance budget increased by $357,577 or 1.1% for 2020-21 to 9.0%. The fund balance is above the 5% minimum required by the ACCJC and the Chancellor's Office; however, it is based off of approximately $5 million in apportionment payments that will not be received until future fiscal years.
  • The Student Farm fund (Fund 34) was established in November 2000 to account for student agricultural production activities that are conducted on a farm in Shively, California. For several years the unrestricted general fund provided $95,000 + per year in support to this fund. Beginning in 2019-20, the amount of needed support decreased to $86,177 thanks to Silas Sarvinski and Kerry Mayer. In 2020-21 the estimated amount of support decreased to $50,991.

Resolution 769 Making Findings on Energy Savings and Determining Other Matters in Connection With Energy Service Agreements:  ForeFront Power updated the Board on the feasibility study they conducted to bring solar energy micro grid technology to the Eureka Campus at the August Board of Trustees meeting. Subsequent to the August meeting, Julia and Steve McKenzie developed a resolution that supports the project. The Board approved that resolution at this meeting.

A few questions came up during discussion of this agenda item including:

  1. As technology improves, do you upgrade the system/panels/batteries during the term of the contract? The answer is essentially that the College is entering in a long-term contract to purchase energy at a fixed price. This decision is based on factors that inspire the College to move now – incentives are high but declining in 3.5 months, the solar and storage will be below PG&E’s rates leading to savings, the net energy metering framework is beneficial to the college but will be also be deteriorating in the next 18 months.   ForeFront Power would replace the equipment with new equipment if there was a compelling economic reason. The likelihood of this is low because buying and installing new equipment, and uninstalling and disposing of old equipment is usually more expensive than leaving existing functioning equipment as is.
  2. Is there a buyout clause in the contract? Yes, we will have an option to purchase the system any year after year 6.  During the first 5 years, Forefront Power will extract the tax benefits of the project and thus we cannot purchase the system within the first five years. Starting in year 6, the option is to purchase the system at the greater of Fair Market Value (FMV) and the Schedule of Termination Values in the contract.  The FMV component is required per the IRS classification as a capital lease on our books.  The termination values are the floor amounts that give ForeFront’s investors assurance of their return.

The Board approved the resolution. We are now working with Forefront to finalize contract language that will allow us to move forward on this project. I expect to send a solar energy contract recommendation for the Trustees’ approval at the October Board meeting. 

Informational Reports

Update on the Education Master Plan Revision Process: Professor Chris Gaines, facilitator for our education master plan revision process, provided a wonderful update to the Trustees on the status of our revision process. I attached a copy of his PowerPoint presentation to this summary for your information.

I want to thank Gary Sokolow, Erin Wall, Sean Thomas, Jon Pedicino, Derek Glavich, John Johnston, Wendy Riggs, Phillip Mancus, Peter Blakemore, Levi Gill, Kerry Mayer, Rianne Connor, Paul Chown, Reno Giovannetti, and Angelina Hill for lending their considerable insight in getting this important revision process started.

The Board of the Trustees was very impressed with the work Chris has accomplished on the EMP project. I want to congratulate Chris on a superb presentation!

Recognition of New Employees and Employee Service Awards: We recognized several of our colleagues for their service to the District during our fall convocation. We publically celebrated them again at this meeting. I want to include the list of the awardees in this summary.

Five Years of Service                                                 

Rianne Connor                                                             

Kris Chorbi                                                                  

Jennifer Levang                                                          

Christopher Callahan

Reno Giovannetti

Tanya Anderson                                                         

Jennifer Burlison                                                         

Matthew McCann

Jordan Hamill                                                             

Catherine Cox                                                             

Nicole Bryant Lescher

Derek Glavich                                                             

Darius Kalvaitis                                                         

Natalia Margulis

William Meriwether                                                   

Erik Sorensen                                                               

Jerry Goodrow

Esmeralda Ramirez

Colin Trujillo

Ten Years of Service

Eric Arndt

Tami Engman

Kintay Johnson

Nate Kees

Danny Walker

Fifteen Years of Service

Mike Haley

Melody Pope

Hillary Reed

Ruth Rhodes

Ron Waters

Twenty Years of Service

Roberta Farrar

Colleen McGill

Sean Patton

George Potamianos

Jose Ramirez

Mark Renner

Tony Sartori

Twenty-Five Years of Service

David Bazard

Steven Garcia

Todd Olsen

Classified Employee of the Year

Mark “Radar” Sigsworth

Faculty of the Year

Wendy Riggs

Associate Faculty of the Year

Danny Ammon

Kathryn G. Smith Leadership Award

Reno Giovannetti and Wendy Riggs

Organizational Reports

Academic Senate: Senate President Gary Sokolow’s written report mentioned that the Senate Executive Committee met several times over the summer and discussed the future direction of the College and Del Norte Senator Levi Gill, Erin Wall and Gary attended the 2020 Senate Leadership Institute. Gary noted that the Senate will continue to be involved in the creation of a new Education Master Plan process and will deal with the shift from face to face to distance education or instruction.  Gary also mentioned that at the very last Senate meeting this past May, the Senate approved the offering of correspondence education for incarcerated students in local and state corrections facilities. 

CRFO: CRFO President Michelle Haggerty’s report included the following:

  • Faculty were extremely busy this summer preparing for this semester.
  • Faculty, staff and administration are all assuring each other and students that this semester may be difficult, but we will get through it together.
  • CRFO continues to meet once a week with the Kerry Mayer and Angelina Hill, the District’s Chief Negotiator and the CIO, to problem solve and work on MOUs. Seventeen MOUs have been signed since March to accommodate the COVID working environment.
  • The relationship between the district and CRFO is collegial and productive. Everyone has the interests of the entire college community in discussions.
  • CRFO leadership is involved in statewide discussions with other colleges and the faculty advocacy group (FACCC). In comparison, it appears that CR is doing well in making the adaptations required to keep moving forward.  
  • This will not be an easy academic year, but the College continues to work as a team to move forward. 

Administrative Reports

President/Superintendent's Report: My written report touched on several topics. What follows are a few of the topics I included in my report. 

  • We are going to hold a community forum tentatively scheduled for October 8 from 6-7:30 pm. We want to highlight the accomplishments of CR, discuss future challenges of the College, and give community members a chance to ask questions of the District’s leadership.
  • We received our Faculty Obligation Number (FON) calculation from the Chancellor’s Office recently. The below chart indicates that we had more fulltime faculty in fall 2019 than required by Education Code. Based on current staffing projections, we will employ more fulltime faculty in fall 2020 than statutorily required.

 District

Fall 2019 Compliance

Fall 2019 Actual

Fall 2020 Compliance FON

Fall 2021 Advance FON

Redwoods

60.2

74.9

56.2

56.2

Siskiyou

24.1

38.7

24.1

22.1

Lassen

14.1

54.1

13.0

13.0

Mendocino

43.7

53.0

35.7

36.7

Shasta

113.3

136.0

102.3

103.3

  • The Program Viability Committee (PVC) completed the AP 4021 process for the Athletics Program. I notified the college community in an August 17 email that I concurred with the PVC’s recommendation to revitalize the program and supported following recommendations.
  1. To reduce the negative impacts experienced by out-of-state students, increase community interest in CR athletics, and to reduce program costs, the PVC strongly recommends that the athletics program immediately stop out-of-state recruiting that is permitted under the redefined out-of-state recruitment waiver for all states that are not on a land border with California (i.e., for all states other than Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona).
  2. To allow the institution to better identify costs and revenues within each sport, the PVC strongly recommends that the business office and the athletics program work together to establish a transparent chart of accounts and hold personnel accountable for effective accounting practices.
  3. Upon evaluation of the most accurate, reliable, verified data available, the PVC strongly recommends that the Budget Advisory Committee re-audit the athletics program budget in future years by sport and that the PVC evaluate costs and revenues by sport during the next evaluation cycle.

As I reported out to the college community at a few months ago, I made the decision to suspend intercollegiate football and beach volleyball and eliminate the cap and gown program in an effort to mitigate the negative impact of the State's fiscal challenge.  I noted in my written report this month that I am willing to look at reinstating intercollegiate football in the future when the District's fiscal outlook improves and if:

  1. We are able develop and sustain an adequate budget to fund intercollegiate football without jeopardizing our overall fiscal solvency or negatively affecting our instructional mission;
  2. We remain compliant with Title IX requirements;
  3. the athletic department prioritizes increasing academic achievement and the graduation rates of football student athletes;
  4. The football program only recruits football student athletes from California, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona; and
  5. We hire football coaches who prioritize student/athlete accountability and staff professional performance.
  • I know that many of my colleagues want to return to normal operations as soon as possible. However, I do not think a return to the old normal is likely.  It is unrealistic to expect that a vaccine or therapeutic will help the District get back to normal operations in the next several months. I believe that the virus, and the resultant fiscal challenge, has irrevocably changed how we operate, what degrees and certificates we offer, and how we deliver instruction and services.

Furthermore, we must be prepared to address the consequences of the virus.

Being prepared means that the District must start to re-imagine how it serves the community in the post-COVID era. It is my hope that the revised Education Master Plan will provide a roadmap for the District to follow.

Being prepared also means planning for the spring and summer 2021 semesters. Based on conversations that I have had with health experts, it is safe to say that the state and county will not likely be in a better position relative to the virus and the expected flu season by the time spring semester begins. Although current estimates indicate that a vaccine may be available early 2021 at best, it will only be available in limited supplies initially.

That said I believe that it may be prudent for the District to continue to operate remotely and offer a majority of classes and services online in spring and summer.  I will discuss this issue with the Expanded Cabinet in the coming weeks.

I want to acknowledge that the process we used to develop the fall reopening plan was not ideal. The situation we faced in the spring and over the summer related to responding to the COVID-19 virus did not allow us time to engage in our customary constituent consultation process. It is my intention to engage employee constituent groups in developing a comprehensive and thoughtful spring reopening plan when the decision is made on how to proceed with spring and summer semesters.

In my verbal comments to the Board, I mentioned that:

  • PG&E is going to terminate their lease for the old administration building as of July 15, 2021. This represents an annual loss of revenue to us of approximately $237,100.
  • We did not have any positives from the follow-up COVID testing of our dorm students last week and Nate Kees is working with Cloney’s pharmacy to set up a couple days where we could have students come on campus for a flu shot.
  • We are in the process of identifying suitable appointees to fill the Area 1 (Deister) and Area 5 (Emad) Board seats. To date, I have received two formal applications from candidates wishing to fill the Area 5 seat. Three community members have inquired about the Area 1 seat. We are in the process of scheduling candidate interviews at a special board meeting on September 21 and a vote on the candidates on October 6. The appointees have to be selected by November 3. The new appointees will take their seats on the Board on December 11.

Vice President of Instruction Report: Angelina’s written report spoke to the following:

  • Student Services staff have converted the on-campus welcome center into a virtual welcome center. Students can access the welcome center Monday-Friday by going to https://redwoods.craniumcafe.com/group/welcome-center/lobby.
  • The CR homepage will be updated soon. The staff have worked to make the site more informative for students and more efficient for employees to find information.
  • The following Fall 2020 Welcome Back video was posted to the College's homepage and on social media. In it, viewers can see the services available to students this year, as well as a fun 'wipe it down' video for students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=funG6s4cJmU
  • Student Services is excited to add additional departments to the use of the chatbot, Woodley. Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the chatbot is available around the clock to help students. Admissions & Records and Financial Aid were the first programs to take advantage of the bot for students. The following programs are in the process of beginning to use the bot: Advising, CalWORKs/EOPS/CARE, Housing, Title IX, and Disability Services.

Angelina verbally acknowledged the tremendous work that our KT colleagues are doing to support their students.

Vice President of Administrative Services Report:  Julia’s written report noted that we received 15 pallets worth of PPE items as part of the system-wide California Community College bulk PPE order made possible through CalOES. The order included:

  • 4,000 bottles of hand sanitizer
  • 230,000 surgical masks
  • 200,000 cloth masks
  • 960 N95 masks
  • 200 face shields
  • 50 no-contact thermometers

Executive Director of Foundation Report: Marty’s report included: The Foundation purchased materials for 600 Welcome Back bags for students attending face-to-face classes this fall semester.  The gift bag included a wooden 4GB flash drive, a set of five masks, and branded items including a pen, pencil, window cling, and stickers.

 

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