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Cuts stop before touching faculty at CCCD

Coast Community College District leaders close budget gap without layoffs or furloughs for teachers.

May 24, 2012|By Britney Barnes
  • Hundreds of students, teachers, and classified workers rally for cancelled classes in front of Coast Community College District headquarters May 2.
Hundreds of students, teachers, and classified workers… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Coast Community College District instructors won't have to take furloughs like other district employees, the Board of Trustees said this week.

"We were able to commit to no layoffs for any employees next year," said Trustee Jerry Patterson. "That's great, that's good news."

The board asked all employees in April to help combat a $3-million budget shortfall for 2012-13 by taking a 3% cut in compensation or unpaid furloughs to help save an estimated 30 to 40 classified positions.

The board also voted to decrease its own monthly stipend by the same amount.

The Coast Federation of Educators publicly decried the cuts, stating that the money to cover the shortfall could be found in the budget.

Some 200 teachers, staff and students protested, urging the board to "sharpen their pencils" and find the money to avoid the furloughs.

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The district was able to find the money to avoid layoffs and cover the faculty's share — $1.4 million, which would have meant about 10 layoffs, Patterson said.

The district will cover the costs through reserves and money saved from retiree liability, reorganizing and health benefits, he said.

"That's where our pencil was sharpened in a way," Patterson said.

The district had projected health benefit costs to increase by $2 million next year, but now it appears they will remain stay flat, he said.

That change was one of the main reasons why the teachers didn't want to contribute, Coast Federation of Teachers President Dean Mancina has said.

Mancina didn't believe there was a shortfall when factoring in projected savings from the health benefits. He also had concerns that a cut would negatively impact a law that requires the district to spend 50% in the classroom.

"I think they did [sharpen their pencils]," Mancina said Thursday. "We had the rally, and then all of the sudden they were able to abandon the plan to lay off ... "

Still, the district has the cuts on the negotiating table, although they have a balanced tentative budget without it, Mancina said.

Patterson said he knows teachers can't take furloughs because they have to teach, but he hopes they will "chip in something."

Mancina said the teachers already have.

"We have been contributing for the last several years by taking more petitioners," he said, meaning students who want to add classes that are already full.

Although an agreement couldn't be reached with the teachers, other employee groups agreed to the cut.

The Coast District Management Assn. and classified managers agreed to take up to seven unpaid furlough days. The Assn. of Confidential Employees agreed to take up to six unpaid furlough days.

The Coast Federation of Classified Employees also agreed to take furlough days based on how months they are employed with year-round staffers taking five, said district spokeswoman Martha Parham.

"I realize these decisions are not made easy or taken lightly, but on behalf of the district I want to thank you for making these sacrifices," Chancellor Andrew Jones said at the May 16 board meeting.

britney.barnes@latimes.com

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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