Two employees of the Glendale Community College nursing department this week spoke against planned spending cuts that they said would paralyze some services.
Earlier this year, college officials announced they would reduce the hours of 115 employees campuswide — that number has since dropped to 95 — and cut 80 positions this fiscal year. Another 18 positions are on the chopping block for 2013, saving the school an estimated $816,000 over the two-year period.
But the plan has garnered significant push-back from employees who say reducing hours and cutting positions will significantly hurt services — even as college officials also cut back on the number of courses and class sessions.
Debbie Klein — who would work 11 months instead of 12 in the nursing resource lab under the plan — is one of 100 employees slated for work-hour reductions, and appealed to the board of trustees Monday to reconsider.
“Closing the position for January or August and having no one doing the work would create a void that paralyzes our program,” Klein said.
A registered nurse, Klein works 20 hours in the lab each week overseeing operations, meeting with students and helping process their requirements.
Last summer, Klein said she met with 143 students and was the only classified employee working in the lab. She is one of four classified nursing employees on the list for reductions.
“Who will serve the nursing students when the position is left vacant for one month at a time?” she asked.
Administrative assistant Barbara Artukovich also spoke in defense of her nursing department position.
“Who will process 300 to 400 nursing applications twice a year with deadlines of March 1 and Sept. 1?” Artukovich asked.
Klein also questioned why her grant-funded position was being reduced.
But Mary Mirch, vice president of instructional services, said the college was free to the use the money if no students are using the program, which won't be running for a one-month period this summer, most likely August.
“We are not doing anything that puts the grant in jeopardy,” she said.
Mirch said faculty and hourly employees could step in to support nurse students in August, even though they won't be enrolled in courses.
“We're not looking at never having anybody available,” Mirch said.
Interim Supt. Jim Riggs said Glendale Community College officials were not giving special treatment to any one program poised for reduced hours.
“As we identify new information we will certainly take a look at it,” Riggs said. “At this point, there isn't a compelling reason right now to treat the nursing program differently than the other programs.”
The reductions are expected to be finalized at the Oct. 15 board of trustees meeting.
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