Despite the disapproval of staff and student representatives, a proposal to sweep a surplus of $3.95 million — savings from the general fund budget — into capital outlay funds has been unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees.
The nearly $4 million dollars surplus resulted from administrative budget savings and unexpected revenue during the 2011 – 11 academic year, said Richard van Pelt, vice president of administrative services.
While Foundation Assistant Anna Mae Jones said the funds should be used for salary adjustments, President Mark Rocha said the savings were needed for more urgent projects.
Anna Mae Jones, a representative of classified employees, addressed the staff’s needs.
“[According to] the Federal Government’s inflation calculator, what cost $100 to buy in 2006 now costs [$112] in 2011 … a 12 percent rate of inflation increase,” Jones said.
However, according to Jones, classified employees, whose income average is $45,000, have not seen a cost-of-living adjustment since a five percent increase in July 2006.
“[Yet] the district swept $8 million into PCC’s reserves and other accounts in 2006,” and an additional $16 million, in 2007 through 2010, Jones said.
In contrast, Jones noted the Board approval of a compensation plan for managers in 2008, which resulted in an annual adjustment of 10.88 percent.
“What signal does this sweep send to our unit members who have waited patiently for five years without any tangible upward adjustment to their compensation?” Jones asked.
President Mark Rocha said it was common practice for the college to put year-end savings into capital funds, and would be needed for technological upgrades and the reconstruction of the U Building.
“When we replace the U Building, [it will cost] roughly $70 million, which will exhaust everything in our capital outlay funds — and then some,” he said.
In the interim, Rocha said he understood Jones’s concerns and reminded her that the district and classified employees had agreed to work on a reorganization of the work force.
“We are going to work together … through this process of re-classifying the entire classified staff,” said Rocha, “I hope that my recommendation will be a significant upgrade to the entire classified staff workforce.”
Ali Oligny, English major and Faculty Association intern, told the Trustees she was greatly concerned about the pattern of spending and cutting she has seen at PCC since 2007.
“Since [academic year] 2007 – 08, the number of sections available to students has decreased,” Oligny said. “For this [semester] 300 sections are going to be cut, and … another 300 sections the following year.”
Students have had to “bear the brunt” of class cuts, Oligny said, and recommended that the Trustees use the $4 million surplus towards adding class sections.
Trustee John Martin said that he supported as many classes as possible, but felt the improvements would benefit students, despite the cuts.
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