Lake Tahoe Community College eyes budget reductions |

Lake Tahoe Community College eyes budget reductions

Griffin Rogers

Lake Tahoe Community College is considering a number of budget reductions for the current fiscal year, as projected enrollment has dropped from 1,750 full-time equivalent students to 1,640.

The college, which operates under a total budget of about $21 million, needs to cut about $500,000 to remain fiscally prudent, President Kindred Murillo said.

Therefore, officials are projecting about 13 percent of classes being canceled as a result of low enrollment in the winter and spring sessions.

Administrators are also considering leaving many unfilled staff positions vacant while refraining from hiring all non-essential personnel in the near future, Murillo said. Layoffs are not planned at this time.

“We are currently looking at not filling some jobs,” she said. “We’re pretty much at what I call a hire slush.”

The college has found a way to net $349,000 in unapproved reductions so far, according to a Nov. 12 staff report. Of that, about $176,000 is tied to course cancellations in the fall, winter and spring quarters.

Classes facing possible cancellation span a variety of subjects, including physical education, theatre arts, communications, mathematics, dance and Spanish.

According to the report, declining enrollment is to blame for the number of reductions, the report stated. The adjusted target of 1,640 full-time equivalent students is 6.3 percent less than the budgeted amount and 13 percent less than the amount the district was funded for in the previous fiscal year.

“The district is focusing on making a ‘workload reduction’ to better align its expenditures to the reduced number of FTES being served,” according to the document.

Murillo said several community colleges have had to endure declining enrollment in the past few years, but cuts are getting more difficult to make.

“We’re getting to a place where it’s really hard to cut much else,” she said.

The revised mid-year budget will likely be up for the Board of Trustees’ approval or disapproval in January, Murillo said.

Murillo has been communicating with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office about her plan to bring reduced tuition costs to non-California residents — a proposal that had the potential to raise enrollment at the college, she said.

The proposal, which allegedly showed California residents receiving reduced prices at Nevada colleges, was brought before the Chancellor’s Office last month, she said. Murillo’s hope was that state officials would acknowledge a reciprocal agreement, allowing Nevada residents to get a similar reduction on prices at California colleges.

The state did not agree with her proposal, Murillo said, but officials at the Chancellor’s Office have agreed to meet with her to discuss the topic further. Another meeting is planned for Dec. 16.

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