Deficit looming

At Monday’s academic senate meeting, Instructor of Psychology and Academic Senate Treasurer Angela Belden said that the budget committee is projecting a $4.8 million deficit.

Belden said that the district takes all of the money that it’s colleges earn and redistributes a portion of it mostly to cover salaries.

However, Belden said that the real problem lies with the funding model and Vice President of Administrative Services Rolf Schleicher will be working at the district level to improve the funding model.

Instructor of Psychology and Chair of the College Outcomes Committee Jennifer Moses said that Pierce’s spending model was good until the district decided to lower the budget, ultimately leading Pierce to a deficit. Moses said that Pierce is not spending money frivolously

“My labor alone cost more than the money im being allocated to the college by almost $800,000,” said Schleicher. “We need to get our expenditures under control, because the budget committee has done a very good job of having a threshold where we said we also want to keep some kind of reserve. We blew through that reserve in the last 2 years because we haven’t been mindful of our budget.”

According to Schleicher, Pierce will have to make adjustments quickly to keep some of the freedom the school has to make decisions.

“I’m looking at a $4-5 million reduction we have to make this year so we can just balance our budget because as soon as we are a deficit college, which is what we are projecting, certain district measures take hold and that means the district is going to dictate a lot more of our direction of how we handle our finances,” Schleicher said.

A new funding form will be put into use.

“The funding form gives us performance metrics and some other metrics that we can potentially enhance which gives us additional point of revenue,” Belden said.

Schleicher believes the campus has the people working on the issue to make things work.

“I think the budget committee is very attuned to the needs and trying to do the best they can to help us get the perspective of what’s most important to us at our college and fund those things first,” Schleicher said.

Schleicher feels that, even with the pending issues, the campus does well when it comes to spending.

“I feel very confident as a fiscal steward here that we do a good job with what we have but we are going to have to do better because the money we are getting isn’t sufficient to cover the amount of headcount we have hired and the amount of expenditures we are incurring for the things we do in the operation.”