Atlantic Cape Community College’s Board of Trustees approved resolutions authorizing the college to issue notices of layoff to some staff in order to address a revenue shortfall due to declining enrollment, when the board met March 28 at the college’s Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City Campus.
Atlantic Cape’s enrollment has declined steadily since its peak in FY’10. For the past several fiscal years, the college has worked diligently to balance the financial impact of declining enrollment through a strategic finance model that emphasizes revenue enhancement, cost avoidance and cost management, said Dr. Barbara Gaba, president. Those measures and general staff attrition enabled the college to balance its budget despite the decline in revenue; however, at this time administration determined the need to eliminate 24 full-time staff positions.
“The reductions that we are forced to consider are a result of declining population and enrollment in both counties over a period of years and they are not taken lightly,” said Dave Coskey, board chair. “The severity of our actions is exceeded only by the responsibility that we have to the stewardship for the overall good of this institution, its staff, faculty and students.”
The positions to be eliminated will include exempt, support and supervisory staff.
Board Adopts Budget, Sets Tuition and Fee Schedule
The board adopted a $37,145,668 FY’18 revenue budget and voted to increase tuition and some fees to support the fiscal plan.
The FY’18 budget, a decrease of nearly $2.4 million over the previous year’s budget, includes $8,535,828 in county appropriations contingent upon approval by the Atlantic Cape Community College Board of School Estimate, a group composed of college and Atlantic and Cape May County officials. The state will contribute a projected $5.23 million in operating aid. Support from the counties for the college’s fiscal year increased by 1.25 percent. Projected state operating aid decreased 6 percent from FY’17.
General tuition will rise to $124 a credit from $120, a 3.3 percent increase. The new tuition and fee schedule begins with the 2017 summer session. A student taking 24 general credits a year—Atlantic Cape’s typical student—will see an increase in tuition and general fees for a total of $3,680.80, up from $3,565.60 in FY’17.
The budget approved is down 5.8 percent from last year’s fiscal plan. It projects a 10 percent increase in culinary credits and a 7 percent decline in credit enrollments due to changing demographics in the college’s service district.
In Grants Activity, The Board:
–Approved submitting an application to Disability Rights New Jersey for the Expansion of Assistive Technology Services to People with Disabilities in New Jersey, requesting a grant up to $12,500 to provide enhanced access to assistive technology products and services to Atlantic Cape students with disabilities over the term of April 14-Sept. 30, 2017.
–Approved submitting an application to the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title II, Adult Education and Family Literacy Consolidated Adult Basic Skills and Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education Grant Programs for FY’18, ’19 and ’20, to provide adult basic education, literacy and English as a second language services in Atlantic and Cape May counties, for a total of $528,050 over the term of July 1, 2017-June 30, 2020.
–Approved submitting an application to the U.S. Department of Education for the Title III, Part A “Strengthening Institutions Program,” which provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education to help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students, with a grant application requesting approximately $550,000 per year over five years, contingent on Congress making funds for this program available.
–Accepted a $500 grant from Easton Foundations/USA Archery to support the team’s intended trip to the 2017 U.S. Intercollegiate National Championship tournament in California in May.
Contracts and Purchases
–Emergency repair and replacement of the air handler coils in A Building, to Falasca Mechanical, Atlantic City, $22,955.
In Personnel Matters, the Board:
–Reappointed eight faculty without tenure to one-year terms, including: Curtis Andrews, assistant professor of Social Science; Kenyatta Collins, assistant professor of Psychology; John Heenan, assistant professor of Criminal Justice; Laurie Lemons, assistant professor of Chemistry; Lorraine Monzo, assistant professor of Nursing; Richard Russell, assistant professor of English; Reeva Salkin, assistant professor of Nursing; and Dean Wyks, assistant professor of Criminal Justice.
In Other Business, the Board:
–Approved the February 2017 financial statement.
–Approved amending the current unrestricted FY’17 budget consisting of revenues of $37,798,924 and expenditures of $39,585,584, including $212,683 of FY’16 encumbrances carried forward, and an additional fund balance transfer of $449,083.
–Approved a list of renovations and upgrades from state-funded Chapter 12 FY’18 funding at a sum not to exceed $3.1 million. Projects include renovation of classrooms and refitting of space; C Building roof replacement; additional fund for sewer infrastructure replacement; and air handler unit replacement for D, H and K Buildings.
–Reaffirmed the following policies with no changes, as part of a periodic review: Policy #4—Curriculum; Policy #502—Emergency Closings; Policy #707—Property Records.
Board Approves Sick Leave Payment Agreement
The board approved memorandums of agreement (MOA) with the college’s four bargaining units that change, for a limited time, the sick leave payment offered to those who retire from the college by Dec. 31, 2017. The agreement increases the payment for unused sick leave, from the $8,500 maximum level in the current contract, to $15,000. The change will be in effect from March 29-April 26, 2017. Terms of the agreement include:
–Payment for unused sick leave will not exceed $15,000 or 100 percent of the employee’s accrued leave. For employees who meet the terms of the MOA, payment will be made in a lump sum.
–Employees who choose to take the payment must make an irrevocable written commitment under the MOA to retire from the college no later than Dec. 31, 2017.
The board approved a separate resolution extending the sick payment benefit to exempt employees.
The MOAs are part of a comprehensive process to develop a projected balanced FY’19 budget. The college follows a strategic finance model that calls for it to look at ways to contain costs and enhance revenues. Knowing how many employees plan to take retirement before developing the budget for FY’19 will provide more precise salary and benefits projections for that year’s fiscal plan. Currently, those expenses comprise about 80 percent of the college’s budget.
To be eligible, employees must be over age 50 and have 10 years or more of consecutive full-time service at the college.
Board Remembers Longtime Member
The board held a moment of silence in honor of David A. Evans, who passed away March 23. Evans was appointed to the board in 2005, and during his tenure had held several leadership roles, including chairman.
“Dave was a dedicated father, honored educator, veteran, mentor and friend,” said Coskey, the board chair. “While the state will fill his seat in time, Dave will never be replaced.”
Evans was a retired educator from Galloway Public Schools and, in that role, was recognized as the New Jersey Middle School Social Studies Teacher of the Year, Galloway Township Teacher of the Year, and Galloway Township Government Advocate for Education.
The next meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 25, at the Mays Landing Campus. All are welcome to attend.