The Mt. San Jacinto College Board of Trustees adopted a $51.9 million General Fund budget for 2012-13 on June 28, 2012 that bridged a $7 million gap brought on by State budget cuts.
MSJC expects to spend as much as it receives in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012. The $51.9 million unrestricted General Fund pays for operations, materials, supplies, salaries and benefits, among other things. The District’s total $103.9 million budget includes funds that are restricted for use in specific areas.
The District prepared the estimated budget with the assumption that the Governor’s tax initiative slated for the November ballot will not be approved by voters. The tax initiative would provide some level of funding relief for community colleges, but would not restore funding that has been cut. If voters approve the initiative, the Board will be asked to approve modifications to the 2012-13 budget.
Since the budget crisis began in 2008, the District has implemented reduction strategies recommended by its Budget Advisory Committee, a shared-governance committee that is comprised of students, faculty, classified staff and administrators. Overtime, travel and hiring have been reduced. The Board approved a freeze in the annual step increases of salaries or wages for the administration/management, supervisory/confidential, faculty, classified and associate faculty for 2011-12 and on June 28, 2012, the Board extended the pay freeze through June 30, 2013.
In addition to the pay freeze, MSJC administrators and the classified staff have agreed to take 12 furlough days, which represents a 4.6 percent salary reduction. The bargaining units for fulltime faculty will consider the salary reduction in the coming months.
Furlough days will be added to the winter and spring breaks to maximize savings on utilities and other costs when the college is closed. If the faculty bargaining unit agrees to the furloughs, is estimated that this measure will reduce District expenses by approximately$1.2 million.
Despite these ongoing efforts to preserve instruction for students, the continuing State budget cuts have resulted in a reduction of funding for full-time equivalent students. In 2009-10, MSJC received funding for 10,199 students and used reserves to serve a total of 13,023. In the coming year, the District expects to receive funding for 8, 982 students and will use part of its reserves to serve an additional 450 students.
The District has dipped into its reserves to offset the cuts. Reserves dropped from $6.1 million in 2009-10 to $2.8 million in 2011-12. The District will use $800,000 from Bookstore reserves, which brings the 2012-13 reserves to $3 million, keeping reserves in line with the State recommendation of 5 percent and following Board policy requires the District to hold 6 percent in reserves.
The District is taking these steps to maintain fiscal stability, preserve instruction for students, and sustain a stable workforce. MSJC officials continue to monitor the State’s budget conditions and have based budget assumptions on advice from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
The Board routinely does not meet in July due to summer vacations. Its regular August meeting was rescheduled in order to allow faculty and staff to return from summer vacations before meetings resume.
The August meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23 in Room 200 on the San Jacinto Campus and linked to Room 805 on the Menifee Valley Campus.