Central Lakes College has cut 10 full- and part-time positions as part of its effort to trim 10.7 percent, or $1.255 million, to the college's base appropriation from the state for each year of the next biennium.
CLC President Larry Lundblad said Monday that the college during the last week has notified 10 employees that their positions are being cut - about a $400,000 cost reduction. Additional reductions of about $855,000 will come from a wage freeze, cutbacks in overtime and reductions in equipment and operating budgets. Students also will experience up to a 5 percent tuition hike, which has yet to be determined by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Board of Trustees. Lundblad said it will be early summer before the budget and tuition amounts are determined.
"This is the last resort when you start eliminating positions," said Lundblad. "You try to do everything else first. It's a worst-case scenario and there's still a lot of unknowns."
The 10 employee reductions for next year include one full-time administrator; two academic professional staff members, one full-time and one part-time; two lab assistants and three office and administrative specialist positions, two full-time and three part-time; and two part-time faculty members.
Lundblad said CLC is experiencing tremendous growth in student enrollment, which has helped soften the cuts. Student enrollment has increased more than 14 percent this year. Last year the college had a 13 percent enrollment increase. The college also is anticipating additional revenues through grants it has received; new programs, like medical assistant, evening welding and the international student program, that are already filled for summer and fall; and higher per credit tuition in higher cost programs, which awaits MnSCU board approval. The college also may receive federal stimulus money that could buffer tuition hikes for students.
Lundblad said the college has reached tentative agreements with its unions for no wage increases for next year. The salary freezes for state employees includes administrative salaries as well. In addition, Lundblad said a number of positions could be reduced again through attrition if the Legislature approves a proposed retirement incentive. This year Lundblad said the college did not have any announced retirements or employees leaving for other jobs. He also added that administrators are developing several grants that could result in new positions.
Lundblad declined to name what areas are affected by the personnel cuts but said no programs would be eliminated. He said some of the clerical workers may be able to be hired back on a temporary basis as the college is awarded grants to work with the Minnesota WorkForce Center and the Department of Employment and Economic Development to provide worker retraining for those in the region who have been laid off or found themselves unemployed.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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