BC Holds Town Hall on Future Budgeting Plans

Elliot G // The Watchdog.

On April 26 there was a Town Hall meeting held with Bellevue College President Gary Locke, Vice President of Administrative Services Dennis Curran, and Executive Director of Finance Jim Craswell to discuss the 2022-2023 college budget. 

All around the state, there were large drops in college enrollment due to the pandemic. Bellevue College was one of the least affected, though not unscathed, with an enrollment decrease of 15 percent. It’s predicted that we are going to end the year at about a $2.3 million operating loss. As of right now, the proposed budget for next year is nearly balanced; the college is about $300,000 short. During the meeting, President Locke said he believed, “We’re gonna end this year in fairly good shape.” Adding, “Still with a deficit still spending more than we’re actually bringing in, but we’ll call on the reserves and our savings account to help get us through.”

You might be wondering how these numbers intend to manifest at the college, and the meeting covered that as well. Craswell stated they are forecasting a seven percent lapse in salary rate for next year (which is down from the 10 percent last year). This is progress, but still not great for our beloved staff. He also predicted $9.8 million in budget reductions. One of these reductions is staffing, scaling down by 15 percent. These estimates predict that scaling down by 15 percent impacts about 94 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) adjunct positions. Though it is noted that most of the adjunct downscaling already occurred during the winter and spring quarters, and the Classified and Exempt reductions have already occurred through normal attrition during the past two years. Another significant change is that student affairs will be merging the evaluations and testing centers into a single workgroup. The college will also be providing $1,017,000 in additional staffing support for ctcLink-related positions, to help ease the stress of our never-ending uphill battle with the software.

The cabinet is making its final vote on the budget on May 17. We will then go to the Board of Trustees for the first read of the budget on June 1. A final vote will be held on June 15 and then the new budget begins, effective with the fiscal year on July 1.

The meeting is available through the Bellevue College President’s Office SharePoint under “​College Budget Town Hall – April 26, 2022.”