Due to a $540,000 budget shortfall in fiscal year 2013, the Coastal Bend College Board of Trustees approved the elimination of twelve, full-time CBC contract employee positions for the 2013-2014 fiscal year at its regular Board meeting on April 18. Contracts for the affected employees end on or before August 31, 2013.
Funds in the college’s reserves were significantly depleted in fiscal year 2012. Underestimating costs, and having to return $218,000 from a nursing grant, forced CBC to utilize over $1.8 million from college reserves/investments to meet financial obligations that fiscal year.
After absorbing such drastic budgetary impacts for two fiscal years, the college administration and Board are making changes for fiscal year 2014 in order to rebuild college reserves and be fiscally responsible.
Paul Jaure, CBC Board of Trustees Chairman, realizes this is a trying time for CBC faculty and staff.
“This was a difficult decision and one the Board did not take lightly, but it’s the best decision to move the college forward, serve students with excellence, and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Jaure said.
The budget shortfall is a culmination of state funding cuts to education, decreased reimbursement for employee retirement benefits, increased operating costs, and lower enrollment for two consecutive years. Furthermore, the Eagle Ford Shale has brought much needed prosperity and high-paying job opportunities to the region. As a direct result of the improved local economy, fewer people are enrolling in college courses.
CBC administrators and the Board of Trustees have been proactive in finding ways to be fiscally conservative and reduce operating expenses, but after a thorough institutional program review process in fall 2012 it was evident that the demand for the number and type of courses offered had shifted.
No program is being eliminated, and the sequence of courses offered to students to complete a certificate or degree will still be available. However, the number of sections offered will be impacted. In addition to face-to-face course delivery, alternative course delivery methods, such as online and distance learning options, are being utilized to offer students a variety of options when registering for courses.
Due to the reduced number of personnel and the decrease in student enrollment, the college began realigning and redistributing duties in various departments in fall 2012. College departments will have increased responsibilities and roles that will help the college utilize funding and tax dollars efficiently to continue focusing squarely on student success.
The reduction in operational areas and personnel is anticipated to decrease college costs by $700,000. This reduction will be applied in the budget development process for the 2013-2014 fiscal year that begins on September 1, 2013.
At CBC, the student’s best interest and success is at the forefront of every decision made. CBC is fully committed to serving the needs of its students, and there will not be any lapse in the quality of the services, courses, and opportunities offered at the college. The college and the Board of Trustees are committed to excellence in education, at all times.
“CBC is a student-centered institution that promotes excellence. It has been a beacon of hope in south Texas for 47 years. In order to keep CBC solvent for many more years to come, it is important for us to behave as responsible stewards while providing access to and success in higher education for our students,” said Coastal Bend College President Dr. Beatriz T. Espinoza.