GCC board approves cost-cutting measures

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Several cost saving measures that may contribute to lowering a $750,000 budget deficit at Glendale Community College were approved by the Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

Under the proposal that must still be ratified by the classified employees union, more than 350 college employees would work four 10-hour days, which will allow certain buildings to close Fridays during the college’s six-week winter intersession.

Under the proposal, classified staff who work in financial aid, student services and elsewhere across the campus would work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days, pending a ratification by the union membership.

“We appreciate the flexibility of [the union],” trustee Ann Ransford said. “It sounds wonderful, but 10 hours a day is difficult.”

Come January, classified employees will be deep in financial aid and more paperwork for the 2010-11 school year and the 10-hour days are a good time to prepare, officials said.

“It’s a lot of work when students start applying for aid applications and Cal Grants,” said classified union President Saodat Aziskhanova. “A lot of students are coming, and want to get into school for the spring semester.”

Closing buildings Friday means not using electricity and other utilities, officials said.

“There’s a real economic, a real fiscal reason that’s driving it,” interim President/Supt. Dawn Lindsay said.

Many of the college’s bread-and-butter classes are Monday through Thursday and students who rely on technology or lab classes would be able to access those facilities Fridays. Classified staff who work in those buildings would work Monday to Friday.

Classified employees who have child care responsibilities could meet with managers to schedule time out of the office during those 10-hour days, Aziskhanova said.“And they can take vacation,” she said. “Management is flexible.”

An under-budget pipe installation project should also save $2,500, while reduced maintenance for campus chillers should net the college $40,000 a year, college officials said.

“The whole objective is to save money,” said Ron Nakasone, vice president of administrative services.

California lawmakers slashed funding for community colleges by 9% for 2009-10 and last summer, college officials considered a 2% to 3% across-the-board salary cut for all employees.

Administrators also reduced the number of classes offered this year despite a spike in enrollment.

The college faced a $900,000-deficit earlier this year, and tinkered with programs to lower that too $750,000. College officials continue negotiations with faculty and classified unions to balance the budget, Nakasone said.

The college is one of few institutions with a rebate in its healthcare plan, Nakasone said. Officials estimate a return of $360,000 from the Blue Shield contract as the 2010 renewal did not increase, which may lower the $750,000 deficit.

The proposed agreement with the college’s classified employees union would be a win-win, officials said, saving the school money without slashing employee pay or student services.

Union officials did not voice opposition to the plan.

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