Budget Deficit Affects Campus

Facing a budget deficit of $5.5 million, Valley College has been forced to cut 33 the spring and winter semesters.

By Jhanelle Rivera, Editor in Chief

In a sudden move to narrow a $5.5 million budget deficit, Valley College administration has cut 33 classes and other resources that will affect its more than 18,000 students.

The cuts total $606,470 and include hits to part-time faculty, admission, student services, Academic Affairs, tutoring and athletics.

“There are some things that needed to be done so that Valley will not jeopardize itself in the future,” said Alma Johnson- Hawkins, the interim president.

Valley’s budget crisis has dramatically affected the campus across the board. Johnson- Hawkins said the college has to reduce by a “significant, sizeable amount of money.” Each department slashed $75,000 in discretionary funding, according to campus officials. As of Nov. 14, the schedule was reduced by 129 hours of instruction. Students can find the courses cut from the spring schedule online, which are highlighted in red. Some courses include the computer applications & office technologies program, followed by two labs from the theater program. Exact numbers of part-time instructors being laid off has not yet been released.

Tutoring will experience a $10,000 loss, and there is a $75,000 reduction to the athletics department, which includes the elimination of track & field and cross-country teams. Johnson-Hawkins said Monarchs Stadium’s track will be closed to students and the community.

After more than a decade of neglect, Valley’s deficit skyrocketed from $1.6 million to $5.5 million since last semester, which is “the worse deficit by far,” according to Vice President of Administrative Services Christopher Bonvenuto. Uncertainty arose as officials tried to figure out how budget concerns reached this point.

“I do know Valley is one of two campuses in the district that has not been able to live within the means of the allocation that we get from our district in terms of the budget,” said Karen Daar president of academic affairs. “So that’s something that the district is concerned about.”

Daar clarified in an email sent to department chairs Nov. 3 that she has been directed by the district to make cuts in the already published 2014 winter and spring schedules.

According to the email, Chancellor Adriana Barrera stated that the deadline for the mandate was Oct. 31 by which time Johnson-Hawkins was instructed to resubmit the college’s multi-year budget plan that addressed the recommendations listed by the Executive Council of the District Budget Committee. The council provided a list of specificities to include a “cut list of re-examining its program and class scheduling to align with instructional budget/costs and enrollment target.”

Moreover, the district direced Valley to produce more full-time equivalent students by pushing more average class sizes to 38.2 for spring 2014 semester and 40 for the fall. According to Daar, the classes cancelled were based upon a three-year trend of low enrollment.

Admissions has stressed that 27 hours have been added back to produce average class sizes above 40, and an additional 39 hours of instruction will hope to be added by next week, including English, history, biology, and mathematics.

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