College board votes to reduce its pay

The Coast Community College District trustees cut their own pay while asking district employees to do the same as part of an effort to tackle a $3-million budget deficit next fiscal year.

The five trustees unanimously voted Tuesday to cut their monthly stipends, starting in June, by 3% — from $1,059 to $1,027.23. The annual savings would be $1,978.20, according to the district.

"I think what we're trying to do here is to spread out the pain," said Trustee Lorraine Prinsky. "For years, we have had retirement incentives, departure incentives — just trying to cope with the budget cuts we have. [There] is a $3-million-plus deficit we're facing, and we don't want to lay anyone off."

The trustees have for several years declined to increase their pay.

The move came after the board unanimously approved a resolution to, if possible, not issue layoffs for the fiscal year 2012-13. Board President Jim Moreno said the district wants to maintain its full workforce; to do that, all employees need to "take a little bit of a haircut," he said.

The cut to employees would be negotiable and instituted through furloughs, or cuts to salaries and benefits, according to the resolution.

"What we're trying to do is keep people employed, to keep people at their jobs of helping us provide education to students," Moreno said.

Without the cuts to salary and benefits, the district would need to lay off an estimated 30 to 40 employees, said Trustee Jerry Patterson.

The layoffs would impact classified employees, according to the resolution

The reduction in pay or benefits would allow the district — comprised of Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Golden West College in Huntington Beach and Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley — to maintain the mandated 5% reserve fund.

"Community colleges are trying to stay open and accept all the students that we can," Patterson said. "It's almost impossible to do some unless we find a way to reduce the budget."

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