Treasure Valley Community College slices $1 million without losing faculty, classes

By Les Zaitz

The Enterprise

ONTARIO – Adapting to fewer students, Treasure Valley Community College has cut $1.2 million from its current budget, warning of more austerity ahead.

College officials say they were forced to act after enrollment dipped by 11 percent for the current school year, eroding income. The college had forecast its enrollment to stay even with last year’s.

But the budget cutting exercise that started last fall may not be very noticeable.

“We were able to find savings in this year’s budget without eliminating any current positions or requiring furlough days for employees,” said Kevin Kimball, interim vice president for administrative services.

“It is not doom and gloom and we are open for business,” said President Dana Young.

What budget documents have been released only generally describe what it will mean for the college to lose more than a $1 million in its budget. Departments had been directed to prepare cuts of up to 6.8 percent.

The biggest reduction comes in instruction — $654,000. College officials earlier said much of those savings would be from classes not held because of the lower enrollment. The cut was far deeper than the $556,000 that would have represented the classrooms’ share of cuts.

The savings come in part from leaving a physical education instruction slot empty and reduced costs for part-time instructors.

“Many of the cuts in the instruction budget were in the adjunct and part-time and overload instruction area,” the college said in a written response to questions. “With enrollment down, fewer classes. Thus, fewer instructors are needed.”

College officials said all classes were still being offered.

“Students will see fewer options as far as times and days to take specific classes. In looking into where cuts should be made, the focus was to ensure the students’ experience was changed as minimally as possible,” the college said.

The college also cut $105,000 from its information technology, $76,000 for building operations, and reduced financial aid for students by $58,000.

Young’s office was cut by $18,000, about half what was forecast as its fair share of the cuts.

Young said the next budget, for the fiscal year starting July 1, will be challenging as well. She said college executives will “align resources” to fit enrollment.

“This is always a difficult task, because it means we may need to cut some positions to add others,” Young said. “We have an obligation to match our offerings with student demands and needs.”