Emotions high as staff cuts loom
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 18:03
The Board of Trustees listened to students, teachers and support-staff speak Tuesday, March 27 against the proposed elimination of 43 classified positions and the reduction in hours of 96 positions and addressed the ASB Cabinet’s vote to ban smoking.
Trustee Mark Bowen said the board should go along with the Cabinet’s 10-4 vote to make LBCC a 100 percent smoke-free campus. The trustees will consider discussing implementation of the ban during the next meeting in April.
Meanwhile, six students in the honors program described to the board the academic support, guidance and encouragement they have received from Alta Costa, the program’s senior administrative assistant. Costa’s position is on the list of 43 support staff positions proposed to be cut.
Evelyn Loya said, “Without her, I would have been lost. … I do things in the community because of the honors program.”
The other five students said they did not believe the honors program would work without Costa’s diligence.
Speaking before the meeting about the proposed cuts, Christian Caldera, a political science major, said, “LBCC is heading into a student self-service.”
Tamara Lincoln, an early childhood education major, works at the student success center at the PCC. She said after the meeting LBCC proposes to cut three of six positions in the center. Lincoln said the center is supposed to run part of the Promise Pathways program and that it is unclear how the center could operate with a skeleton crew.
When talking about the Promise students who arrive next Fall, she said, “They’re going to see tutors overwhelmed, one person at the counter, it’s not going to be a friendly atmosphere.”
Speaking after the meeting, Trustee Roberto Uranga said he liked when students speak at the meetings and talk about what is important to them. “I listen. What it does, it raises questions of your staff.”
Uranga said the coordinating planning committee and the budget advisory board made the proposal that would have a net impact of 43 positions cut and 96 positions being reduced in assignment. He said, “I’m hopeful that through the negotiation process, that the pain will not be as hurtful.”
Nassef Girgis, manager of the International Students Program and another targeted for a lay-off, explained to the board that the program costs $86,000 per year and brings in $190,000 in net profit. The remaining $126,000 goes back into the general fund, he said.
Girgis highlighted the international students program having the highest transfer rate.
Carlos Sacramento, 21, an international studies major and international student, said the support received by the program “goes beyond academic services.” The program guides the students through registration, compliance with immigration visas and health insurance, Sacramento said. “Some students arrive with limited language skills and can feel intimidated to walk up and ask questions from every teacher or department.”
During the meeting, President Eloy Oakley said the board and administration were reacting and preparing with the community on the impact of difficult decisions. “California has a very dire situation. Our college doesn’t get any new revenue. We are owed so much money by the state. … We’re feeling the impact right now.”
In an email memo Wednesday to employees, Oakley said 12 management positions will be cut and said, “If the November tax initiative to provide added financial support for Community Colleges is not adopted by California voters … any additional reductions would impact our instructional staff and programs.”
Students Brett Bruhanski, Holly Beck Kimble, Jason Troia, Natalie Ly, Brian Campbell and Amanda Ford also spoke at the meeting in opposition of the lay-offs, along with sociology teacher Janet Hund, senior technical support specialist Anne Engel, Costa and part-time teachers union president Karen Roberts.