Cuesta College slashes budget

May 12, 2011

Cuesta College Board of Trustees on Wednesday voted to slash the budget by $2.9 million for the upcoming academic year, resulting in salary reductions, permanent assignment reductions, reduced workloads and position eliminations for approximately 120 employees.

As of July 1, a total of 43 nonteaching positions will have their hours reduced, six positions will be eliminated and approximately 70 part-time faculty will have their class loads reduced or eliminated. In addition, six unfilled positions will undergo a hiring freeze until further notice.

“This is the worst financial situation Cuesta College has faced in several decades,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Gil Stork. “My goal is to keep as many people as possible employed and as many students as possible in the classroom.”

The Board of Trustees also approved a voluntary pay decrease for Cuesta College’s president and three vice presidents of five percent each.

Cuesta College will still need to cut $1.275 million dollars from its budget in the upcoming months, which will result in further operational and personnel reductions.

“The college is changing out of necessity,” Dr. Stork said. “We are not the same institution we were even a year ago, but we will persevere. We will continue to serve our students and do our best to help them achieve their academic goals.”

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Cuesta did just build a really sweet theater, and they’re now building a very nice learning resources center at the North County campus. But when you see a building go up at a community college, it’s from state money that has been in the pipeline for years, paid for by some bond issue that was voted on years ago. That’s why you see building going on, even though the community colleges (and the state) are broke. Budget problems at Cuesta aren’t caused by the new buildings.

Of course buildings don’t cause budget problems! People do! What I meant to say was: if $12,500,000.00 was steered towards a building, and $0.00 was steered towards the school (general fund, which is technospeak for salaries & bennies, basically), then there might be an issue.

Then again, I’m sure it can be argued that without a really sweet theater, there would not have been the $12.5 mil. Oh well.

When community colleges want to be like their big brothers, spending gets crazy. Didn’t they just build a really sweet theater ($12.5M+)? I mean, not nearly as over-bloated as Cal Poly’s PAC, but still, a bit bloated for a “small” campus?

I love going to the theater, but it is always about “making it pencil out” for the venues and production crews… so I have to wonder how much (if any) of all that fancy new construction at the campus drained the college resources (versus donations and grants); and do they hope to re-coup their losses any time soon without a type of tax-subsidized bailout or increased tuition?

Don’t get me wrong, I think community colleges are a fantastic deal, and could use *some* increases in tuition and fees, but that’s a lot of money to cut just to make it this year. Difficult times all around, and I hate seeing a community college in a crisis. Hopefully Dr. Stork (any relation to Vivian?) can get this situation under control with as little “hurt” as possible.