Education

As Legislature approves budget, Cayuga Community College, union continue fight

2013-07-25T03:05:00Z 2013-07-25T06:57:36Z As Legislature approves budget, Cayuga Community College, union continue fightSamantha House | samantha.house@lee.net Auburn Citizen

Cayuga Community College's proposed 2013-2014 budget cleared its final hurdle Tuesday evening, receiving the Cayuga County Legislature's unanimous approval.

Legislators passed the $32 million budget without discussion at their full monthly meeting, approving the proposal presented to members of the Government Operations Committee on July 2.

Margaret Spillett, CCC's public relations director, said the budget, based on a "conservative revenue model," includes a $140 yearly tuition increase and a 6.3-percent decrease in overall spending.

The college has not said how many layoffs could be made for the coming year, but Spillet explained how the college has cut its salary expenditures so far.

"Six faculty members have retired recently and several staff positions remain open. The board also passed a resolution to eliminate stipends for executive and management confidential staff members," Spillett said. "Depending upon a number of factors, including how enrollment turns out, the need for and number of layoffs may be determined."

While Legislature addressed CCC's conservative budget without fanfare at its meeting, some members of the school's community continue to criticize how the board of trustees is handling the college's continuing budget woes.

Last week, trustees declared a state of fiscal exigency — meaning trustees believed the school's monetary situation demanded immediate action that could include staff cuts.

The decision did not sit well with one union.

A few days after the board declared fiscal exigency, the Faculty Association released a statement decrying the move.

In its statement, the union implored the board of trustees to rescind its exigency declaration to mitigate the announcement from inflicting "irreparable harm" on the college's reputation.

"From this point forward Cayuga will always be known as 'the college that failed' and become an example of ridicule at other institutions," the FA wrote.

"Students will have no confidence that the college will be around long enough for them to complete their degrees. Enrollment will erode. Financial exigency will become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

The union also looked skeptically on the reasoning behind the financial exigency declaration — a term that some equate to bankruptcy for academic institutions. But if the college truly is facing dire financial times, the union said its leadership should resign.

"A declaration of fiscal exigency is also a declaration the administration is incapable of running the institution," the union wrote. "It is an admission of failure by the president, chief financial officer and trustees."

Spillett said the college had a copy of the FA's statement, but did not wish to respond.

The college — which originally faced a $1.5 million budget shortfall for the 2012-2013 academic year — was able to come up with about $1 million worth of savings by reducing expenditures.

With $567,000 left to cut before Aug. 31, the close of the school's current fiscal year, three of the college's unions agreed to take furloughs. But so far, the college and the Faculty Association have not been able to finalize a deal.

Eric Zizza, FA's president, said the union — which previously offered to take a 4 percent pay cut — hasn't recently had any fruitful discussions with the college.

"We've never received any counter proposal," he said. "There hasn't been any negotiations since."

Staff writer Samantha House can be reached at 282-2282 or samantha.house@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @Citizen_House.

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(1) Comments

  1. sorter
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    sorter - July 24, 2013 11:38 pm
    Good for the faculty! Every county taxpayer, college student, and alum should thank the faculty for standing up to Larson and his incompetent administrators and telling us the truth about what's going on at the college. Our community college was a great college. How did Larson manage to run it into the ground in only two years? When are the trustees going to fire him? Did the county legislature even ask him any questions about how he has destroyed the college?
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