TVCC initiates cuts, trims programs as money woes continue

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect new information and comments from TVCC president Dana Young at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

By John Braese and Pat Caldwell

The Enterprise

Treasure Valley Community College took steps to lay off faculty in the face of declining enrollment and budget shortfalls.

College officials on Friday confirmed the news, indicating six tenured faculty. Union officials said another six instructors, referred to as provisional faculty, could lose their jobs as well. College President Dana Young said Friday afternoon the college has made no decision on those positions.

Under the contract with faculty, layoffs would take effect Sept. 1, and the impact on the current school year is uncertain.

The cuts, however, would eliminate the college’s music, welding and foreign language programs.

A math instructor and and English instructor also are on the list.

“We will have classes available for all students wishing to take courses,” said Treasure Valley Community College president Dana Young. “We have a 4 percent increase in enrollment this quarter and hope to continue with increased students attending the college. We are making cuts everywhere we can to make up a $494,000 shortfall.”

The reductions would leave the community college with 34 faculty compared to the current 40, union officials said.

Under current contract, the six tenured staff will have the opportunity for possible placement in other departments or areas according to Eddie Alves, college vice president of academic affairs.

“We will meet with faculty and discuss options,” Alves said.

Three of the six instructors have represented the Treasure Valley Education Association, the faculty union, in recent contract negotiations, according to Gerry Hampshire, union president.

“Two are union officers and one is on the bargaining team,” Hampshire said.

Hampshire said in a written statement that the notices “coupled with the administration’s ability to fire provisional faculty (tenure track but not yet tenured) means that 12 faculty could be fired. The total loss of teaching positions would be 30 percent of all faculty.”

The six faculty layoffs subject to a notice from the college need the approval of the college’s board, which was scheduled to consider the matter at its Feb. 20 meeting. On Friday afternoon, the college announced that the board would hold a special meeting on 7 p.m. Thursday related to labor negotiations.

 “Just sending out the letters does not mean each cut will happen,” said John Forsyth, board president. “The board will talk about doing away with programs and evaluate each. This is a business decision.”

Forsyth said the board has been through the process recently, evaluating and providing a chance for the college’s music program to build student support. A decision by the board a few years closed the theater program.

“The community said it wanted a music program and we gave it a chance,” said Forsyth. “The stipulation was that it had to build and become sustainable. It has not.”

Alves said the college is obligated to students to finish a degree in programs affected and is taking steps to ensure classes will continue with adjunct staff.

“Classes will be here in some form,” he said.

CORRECTION: An early version of this story reported that 12 faculty positions would be eliminated, based on information provided by the faculty union. In fact, only six instructors have been notified and another six could face layoff.