Cuesta College’s board of trustees on Wednesday approved for next academic year a $2.9 million budget cut — which will affect the jobs of about 120 employees.
The board voted unanimously 4-0 — with trustee Gaye Galvan absent — to move forward with the proposed cuts.
Starting July 1, 43 nonteaching Cuesta workers will have their hours permanently reduced and about 70 part-time faculty members will have their class loads reduced or eliminated. In addition, six people are being laid off — including two full-time workers.
“Even though I’m appreciative of your approval, I can’t feel good about this,” Gil Stork, Cuesta’s president, told the board.
During the meeting, Patrick Mullen, the president of Cuesta’s board, spoke of a “rotten situation” for everybody in the room — which included dozens of students, faculty and staff.
The cuts, which are based on expected state budget shortfalls, will reduce a majority of the 43 staff jobs from 12 months a year to 11, resulting in an 8.3 percent pay cut.
Most of the reduction will come from staff taking unpaid days off throughout the year.
The full impact of the cuts to part-time faculty is still being worked out, but 70 teachers will teach fewer courses, and some could lose all of their classes. Tenured faculty members aren’t affected by the cuts.
The board also approved a voluntary pay reduction of 5 percent of the salaries of the president and the college’s three vice presidents — amounting to a total savings of $36,390.
The 5 percent pay reduction for top administrators compared with a staff cut of 8.3 percent was a sticking point for John Fetcho — the Cuesta College Classified United Employees president — who spoke during public comment Wednesday.
“The president and the ranking administrators should receive the same cuts as the (nonteaching staff),” Fetcho said. “They should be taking at least 8.3 percent.”
Students will see the impacts in that 100 to 300 fewer sections will be offered, potentially affecting 500 to 1,500 students who won’t be able to take courses they need.
Stork cited what he termed an “unprecedented time in California” that’s affecting all state public entities.
“This is the worst financial situation Cuesta College has faced in several decades,” Stork said in a statement after the meeting. “My goal is to keep as many people as possible employed and as many students as possible in the classroom.”
In addition to Wednesday’s cuts, Cuesta College will still need to cut $1.28 million from its budget in the upcoming months, which will result in further operational and personnel reductions, according to college officials.