Winter 2010 Budget Update
January 11, 2010 — Message from Brian Murphy
My second message to you today focuses on the college budget. We continue to be shocked and saddened by the death on campus this morning, a true tragedy. The Sheriff's Office has released no additional details on this apparent suicide of a former student.
We are well into winter quarter, and I hope you enjoyed your well-deserved time off. Many thanks to those who worked over the break, including staff in the Broadcast Media Center, Facilities, and Educational Technology Services, as well as Gilbane/Maas, to ensure that the campus power shutdown went as smoothly as possible. Bookstore staff made themselves available to serve students the weekend before the quarter began, and as always, custodial and grounds staff made certain that a clean and beautiful campus awaited our students.
Our students are back in droves. Once again, our classes are full, and we still have waitlists totaling more than 9,000 names. It gives us all pause to appreciate the seriousness with which the students seek an education and want to be at De Anza in particular.
The seriousness of our students only underscores the importance of how we marshal the ever-shrinking resources sent us by the state. Having reviewed the governor's just-released budget, I must say that his contention that he has spared higher education from further pain is largely illusory, as the budget proposal is constructed of savage cuts to health and human services and the receipt of federal dollars that few believe will materialize.
Whatever the results of the budget process, we are still left with the aftereffects of last year's disaster, in which the college and district suffered a deep drop in funding that we covered with one-time funds. We are therefore still burdened with resolving an ongoing deficit irrespective of what else happens at the state level.
As you know, De Anza College has been in the midst of budget planning for months. I want to bring you up to date on the status of the current budget deliberations and the processes through which we are constructing our budget.
- We are continuing the extraordinarily difficult planning for budget reductions in 2010-11, based on a projected deficit of about $4 million. Our deficit would be significantly higher were it not for the superb work of our employee groups in lowering district medical benefit costs, and we are grateful for their efforts.
- The college's Planning and Budget Teams have been meeting for many weeks to review three levels of reduction plans for 2010-11. The PBTs are broadly representative of all campus constituencies, and the discussions have been informed, thoughtful and animated by good will. This doesn't make the choices any easier. Under all scenarios being reviewed, we face additional layoffs and potential program suspension.
- The PBT proposals will be completed by January 19, and detailed plans will be shared in College Council on January 28.
- We will host a Town Hall meeting from 12:30-2 p.m. tomorrow—Tuesday, January 12—in Campus Conference Room B to discuss these and all related budget issues, review the broad outlines of our current budget projections and the processes through which we seek resolution. Please attend if at all possible.
Our budget principles are clear: To the degree we can, we will protect our student base; we will protect the services and programs that serve those most in need; and we will protect the core functions without which we are not De Anza College and do not have our distinctive identity. I have been deeply impressed by the seriousness with which our administrative staff, faculty and classified professionals have entered into these deliberations.
It is important not to remain passive about the state budget. There will be important organizing to represent our interests in Sacramento this winter and spring, and I urge every one of you to get involved. Our students are involved in significant political organizing efforts in protest of the underfunding of public education, developing an on-campus event January 20 and planning the march on Sacramento, to be held March 4. I believe the students deserve our enthusiastic support for their efforts.
These are wrenching times, and we must all be deeply caring and considerate of each other, and particularly our colleagues directly affected, as we deal together with the pressures.
Even in bad budget times, our good work continues. Accreditation will be a key college focus over the next 18 months, with the comprehensive self-study conducted this year in anticipation of the visit by the Accrediting Commission in fall 2011. Our preparation will necessarily begin right away, and I hope you will lend your expertise by participating on an accreditation self-study team in the area of institutional mission and effectiveness; student learning programs and services; resources; or leadership and governance. I will host an informational session on accreditation and self-study teams from 1:30-2:30 p.m. this Thursday, January 14, in the California History Center, and I hope you will attend. See www.deanza.edu/accreditation/ for more information. If you would like to participate on a self-study team but are unable to come to the meeting, please contact Director of Communications Marisa Spatafore, who is serving as our accreditation liaison officer, at email@example.com or extension 8672.
Let's continue our focus on our students, remember our vocation and our mission, and take genuine joy in our work. It's found in those moments when a student looks up and grins and says, "I think I got it," or—even better—"I think the book's wrong; I have a better idea."