Posted at 4 p.m. Oct. 17, 2016
Revenue, efficiency committees tackle budget crisis
Laramie County Community College is faced with cutting $2.5 million from its budget.
To do this, LCCC has developed a process to cut expenses, create additional sources of revenue, or better utilize available resources.
As part of the process, two committees were formed — the Revenue Committee and Efficiency Committee. Each committee is responsible for working with the LCCC campus community (faculty, staff, students, etc.) and identify feasible, significant areas of increasing efficiency or revenue in the way LCCC functions with the least amount of expense possible. Brian Uzpen, instructor of astronomy and physics and co-chair of the Efficiency Committee, said there have been more than 100 proposals made for vetting before presentation to the Cabinet. Uzpen said he was not able to speculate or give many details of the many proposals received, but he did say that it could be something as simple as turning off the lights in various areas of campus during the night to save the institution money and increase efficiency of resources.
According to Sabrina Lane, accounting compliance supervisor and co-chair for the campus Revenue Committee, the first step in the process is gathering information and suggestions from students and faculty. This involved sending emails to both groups via Eagle’s Eye and D2L as well as manning booths at the mall and on the LCCC campus to collect information and proposals.
The proposals are reviewed by the Revenue Committee’s four subcommittees, which represent the faculty and staff, foundation, research, and students. The subcommittees vet and score the proposals for feasibility of use prior to presenting the proposals to the full Revenue Committee.
After review by the Revenue Committee, the proposals are go to the Cabinet, led by President Dr. Joe Schaffer.
The submissions deadline from the Committees to the Cabinet is Oct. 17. Lane did not comment on the exact number or types of proposals, but she did say there have been quite a few.
In addition to the $2.5 million cut, another $4.5 million will need to be cut next year. Rick Johnson, vice president of administration and finance, said it’s doubtful LCCC will trim its way to resolve next year’s fiscal issues but rather be extremely thoughtful and strategic about how to resolve the issue. When asked if layoffs of faculty, staff, or student employees are anticipated to make this budget cut happen, Johnson said that “…we are just now working through the process of identifying potential revenue-generating ideas and identifying expense-reduction opportunities. It’s too early to tell how all of this works out, but we are obligated to present our findings to the (Board of Trustees) in early December.”
Like other departments on campus, the Academic Affairs department is playing its role in the budget process by reviewing budgets, past revenue and expenditures, and making recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year. According to Terry Harper, interim vice president of academic affairs, it is not clear at this point whether or not LCCC will experience reductions in academic programs or faculty. In regard to making recommendations for the budget cuts, Harper said that this is the work of the CORE Initiative, which includes evaluation of all divisions and making recommendations based on the evidence provided from all committees and areas. In addition to looking at areas to cut, Harper said, the Academic Affairs department has also made efforts to increase revenue:
- Increasing enrollment by working collaboratively with Student Services to enhance recruitment
- Enhancing concurrent and dual offerings to promote enrollment
- Increasing the number of transfer agreements with four-year institutions to increase enrollment
- Developing strong employer partnerships to offset operational and equipment costs with monetary or just-in-kind donations
- Pursuing grants to offset costs
In addition to the main LCCC campus, the Albany County Campus is included in the budget process. According to Dr. James Malm, associate vice president for the Albany County Campus, the ACC is playing a substantial role in the CORE Initiative this year. Malm is a member of the President’s Cabinet, of which is currently scoring CORE reports created by representative employees from throughout the college and awaiting data from the Revenue and Efficiencies committees. When asked if there is anticipation of reduction in class offerings or faculty at ACC, Malm said he is “not at the phase of the transparent, inclusive, disciplined and humanistic CORE Initiative yet where possible reductions may be considered.”
Cabinet decisions will be presented to the newly elected Board of Trustees on Dec. 7.