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Board of Trustees works to balance College budget through furlough days and wage concessions for employees

DATE: 05-13-2013

During a special meeting Monday night, the Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees voted 6 to 3 to accept agreements with the four College bargaining units. This action prevents employee layoffs and will balance this year’s operating budget.

The College needed 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. The agreements with the remaining employee bargaining units will help close the budget gap for this year, providing relief for immediate budgetary shortfalls.

“We’re pleased that the College employees were able to come together and reach a collaborative solution to address the financial pressures that we are facing this year,” said College President Daniel P. Larson. “They represent a shared sacrifice by employees, who are all dedicated to ensuring continued high-quality education and seamless services for our students.”

College administrators have been working with bargaining units over the past several months to develop proposals that would avoid layoffs and find the savings necessary to make-up the budget shortfalls.

Three of the bargaining units—Maintenance and Custodial Group, Educational Support Professionals, and the Administrative Professionals Group—agreed to accept unpaid furlough days, ranging in numbers from two to 10 days, based on bargaining units and salary levels. Lower paid employees will take fewer days than those making more money, but on average, it will cost employees approximately 3.8 percent of their salaries. The reductions to salary will be spread out over the remaining pay periods through August 31, 2013, to ease the impact. The College will pay back the money to employees beginning in 2015-16.

Faculty Association members voted last Friday to accept a proposal of a 4 percent wage concession equivalent, which the College will repay to faculty members over several years, beginning in 2015-16.

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.