The Hartnell College Board of Trustees has unanimously passed (Sept. 3) a $31 million 2002-03 budget, which Hartnell President Edward Valeau describes as "very, very lean."
At a time when the state budget is the worst in recent memory, Valeau said he was proud of the trustees in passing a balanced budget. In June, college officials had projected a $1 million deficit for 2002-03. The current budget includes a projected ending fund balance of $2.6 million.
"However, the adopted budget," Valeau emphasized, "was not passed without sacrifice."
He said many administrative positions have been consolidated, a 3 percent reduction in non-personnel expenditures begun last year will be continued in 2002-03, hourly employees will be scaled back, and many scheduled maintenance projects will be postponed or eliminated.
Valeau also said that classes with low enrollments will be cut if they do not relate to a specific major and/or program that students need for completion. "The college," he said, "maintains its responsibility for providing access, but it may not be as convenient as in the past."
He noted that Hartnell scaled back "late registration" by one week for the fall semester, not only as a cost savings measure, but also as an efficiency measure to assist students in enrolling early and using various electronic options available to them.
"While these cost-cutting measures are drastic," Valeau said, "we have no other alternative considering the state's serious budget deficit." California's community colleges receive a large portion of their funding from the state.
He also said he wanted to commend the college's faculty and staff "for their stewardship at this critical time in which the state budget looks very, very dim."
During the budget discussion, trustees voiced concerns as to whether cost-reduction measures would negatively impact Hartnell programs and services.
Valeau said the budget cuts "certainly would have some impact," but that he and administrators would continually monitor the situation to assure that disruption to educational opportunities for students would be as minimal as possible.
The budget was passed with the understanding that information from the Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges could impact the budget.
For more information on the budget, call Larry Carrier, Hartnell's vice president of administrative services, at (831) 755-6995.