College Council -- September 4, 2009

Quick Jump to Sections: Accreditation (mid-term report), Construction, Budget, Enrollment Management (class caps), Next Meetings.

Accreditation (mid-term report)

The Board of Trustees has reviewed the (final?) draft in the public folder (login to Outlook Web to have the document download to your computer) and they liked it. Amber Chiang has been the editor. The only suggestions the Board had was to include a brief note next to each recommendation from the accrediting commission telling how far along we are to meeting the recommendation as in "met" or "partially met", etc. and to put in explicit links to the ACCJC/WASC criteria for the various standards.


Reminder about the Mt Vernon re-paving project by the city that is going to seriously impact traffic flow into and out of the main campus. Mt Vernon between Hwy 178 and University will be re-paved starting September 8th for "1.5 to 2 months" (which actually means 2-3 months) and traffic will be restricted to just one lane each way.

BC is now looking into building a large carport in the NORTHEAST parking lot with solar cells on the roof. We are getting estimates from four solar power vendors for an one megawatt array. The carport/solar power array would take up a good chunk of the northeast parking lot. Cars will, of course, be able to park under the array so there will be little if any loss of parking space. The only loss will be due to the massive three-foot pillars supporting the roof. The soonest that anything could get started on that is spring and it would take about three months. BUT no definite plans (contracts, approvals, etc.) have been made yet.

The GET bus terminal at BC will start construction next fall.


BC's budget now meets the Board of Trustees' criteria of (1) 5% cut in actual spending, (2) balanced budget, and (3) meets the 50% law. Apparently, this budget is the first BC budget in a long time that is actually balanced. Although the amount that we're carrying over from the previous fiscal year (ended June 30th) is still being determined, there is some hope that our carryover will be higher than originally planned because of the efforts we made last fiscal year to delay purchases, being more efficient, not hiring as many replacements in old positions, etc. That is the good news.

The bad news is that there will be mid-year cuts because our elected leaders in Sacramento cannot create an honest balanced budget so that the current projections are for a $6.5 to 8 billion deficit in the state budget for this year. Fortunately, the state canNOT legally raid the college district reserves as they have done with other state-funded agencies and municipalities.

The district office did take a 5% cut in operating expenses from last year's budget (not the actuals).

One piece of good news is that the college district will be receiving an approximately $3 million from the state for apportionments that will go into our base funding which means it will be ongoing revenue rather than one-time funds. Apparently our district chief financial officer (Tom Burke) was a little too conservative in his projections for how much money we would get from FTES funding. This is actually a good mistake as the extra money from the state will blunt the blow of the up-coming mid-year cuts.

It is my understanding that the 5% cuts are cuts in the GUI (unrestricted) funds. Categorical-funded programs such as EOP&S, DSP&S, etc. were cut between 16% to 62% depending on the program. The Board of Trustees will be back-filling up to 50% of the cuts in categoricals overall from district reserves. Some categorical items will be back-filled more than 50% and some others will be back-filled less than 50%.

The federal stimulus money to California community colleges that was for categorical funded programs has been greatly reduced. The state budget deal assumed that the community college statewide system would be receiving $120 million from the stimulus money. However, that amount has been reduced to just $30 million (I don't know why) so the state-wide mid-year cuts to the categorical-funded programs will be about $90 million.

Enrollment Management (class caps)

Our vice-president of instruction (Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg) gave a history of the decisions made over the summer about the class size caps. Basically, the decision to not allowing class sizes to be increased at all was modified to allowing some core mission classes to increase in size because of updates in our knowledge of how enrollment was going and the iterations in the college district's budget calculations (especially the 50% law calculation). Core mission of the college includes: general education-transfer, developmental education (basic skills) and career-technical education. The allowance of adding some more students to some of our classes has to be balanced with the impact of those extra students on our costs of serving them from facility wear and tear to increased library usage to academic advising in the counseling department. Mary Jane Johnson has processed approximately 500 changes to the class maximums.

We are operating with fewer sections this year. I'm not sure of the actual numbers as I heard contradictory information: In Fall 2008 we had 1781 sections and this fall we have only 1603 sections but I also heard that we have 268 fewer sections this fall than last fall. You'll see that the math doesn't work out right. Regardless of the actual numbers, we are operating with fewer sections.

I did ask about the physical activity class maximums. One factor in the decision to not allow more students into most (if not all) of the PE classes beyond the caps is that the state (I believe it is both the legislative and executive branches) is looking very critically at the funding of the PE classes and questioning why the PE classes are funded at the same level as the classes in other areas. Whether or not you think the criticism is a justifiable, it is happening so faculty in that area will need to clarify how they meet the core mission of the community college system and work to get that message across to our leaders.

There were still about 4000 students on the waitlists on Friday, September 4th. The waitlists were purged at 10 PM on September 4th because Admissions and Records was going to be closed over the Labor Day weekend and waitlists must be purged by the stroke of midnight on census day, September 8th. Hopefully, instructors had a copy of their waitlists by Friday if they were going to maintain a waitlist on their own after census day.

It was also in here or in the construction item that a clarification of how class sizes are set needs to happen. It was brought up that the old class size formula of 15-square feet/student is not congruent with fire code. Lamont Schiers said that there will be a determination of what the room occupancy maximums should be classroom by classroom. I'm not sure if this was "in process" or if it is still to be started. It was also mentioned that the spring schedule with set class maximums is to be completed in just two weeks. I do not think that the room occupancy limits will be set by then.

Next meetings

For year 2009/10, meetings will be on 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month 8:30 to 10:30 unless it is a holiday or finals week. Next meeting is September 18th.

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Last updated: September 4, 2009

Document author: Nick Strobel