During a special meeting Monday night, the Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees continued discussions of budgetary and bargaining unit issues after hearing from 10 campus members and witnessing a group of 40 students rallying in support of College employees.
The College and board is working to reduce expenditures of its $32.36 million operating budget by approximately $1.5 million before the end of the fiscal year on August 31, 2013, to help make up for an unexpected 5 percent enrollment decrease. Last fall, senior leaders and budget managers identified more than $778,000 in savings through employee retirements, operating budget reductions, cuts to travel, and reductions in part-time employee hours.
Earlier this spring, managerial and confidential employees, executive staff, and the president accepted furlough days and helped bring budgetary savings over the $817,000 mark. College administrators are currently working with the four bargaining units to help close the budget gap for this year.
“Discussions are continuing, and they remain collegial and productive,” said College President Daniel P. Larson. “I remain optimistic that the College and its four bargaining units will find a collaborative solution to the budgetary challenges we face.”
The meeting Monday night opened with faculty, staff, and students addressing the board and sharing their viewpoints on how the College arrived at this point in time and what could be done to address the budgetary shortfalls. Outside the board meeting, students carried signs of support and chanted slogans in support of the faculty and staff members of the College, with the aim of convincing the board to avoid employee layoffs.
Following the public comments, the board went into executive session for about 90 minutes and returned to say that the board would like Dr. Larson to continue working with the bargaining units to find a resolution to the budgetary issues.
Several factors contributed to the budgetary shortfall this year, including lower than projected enrollment, student retention issues, stagnant state aid and local funding, and increased fixed costs for the College.
The board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. next Monday, May 13 to continue the discussions.