District Proposes 25% Class Cut
By Margaret Weir/Staff Writer
The faculty contract negotiations between the City College teachers’ union AFT Local 2121 and the school district saw a new development during an Oct. 7 closed-door negotiation as a new proposal to increase class cuts, at 15 percent now, to 25 percent over the next five years.
Union leadership cited the district’s initial proposal to cut 15 percent of course offerings over the next three years as an issue in their September vote to fund a Hardship Relief Fund in anticipation of a possible strike. Over a quarter of classes in the current catalogue will no longer be offered if this new proposal is adopted.
In a recent negotiations update from the Employees Relations Office, the district reasoned that the 25 percent cut in course offerings is a viable response to City College’s drop in enrollment.
“In order to align our funding with the actual number of students after the period of stability funding, we will have to reduce our course offerings five percent a year over the next five years. We have been building up a reserve of funds to avoid a more sudden and devastating reduction in course offerings,” the Employees Relations Office wrote in an email to faculty.
At the peak of City College’s student enrollment in 2007-08, the college had approximately 37,000 full-time equivalent students (FTES). This year, City College only had about 23,000 FTES, causing the state to pull approximately $57 million from the school’s budget.
In 2014, Senator Mark Leno passed a stability bill (SB 965), which provides $40 million for City College to replace enrollment based funding that would otherwise be lost. The stabilization funding runs out in 2017.
The cuts would cause the layoff of 356 full-time equivalent instructors, according to Alan D’Souza, vice president of AFT Local 2121.
Currently, there are two-and-a half part-time instructors for every one full-time equivalent currently employed by the college.
In their current proposal, AFT Local 2121 calls for a restoration to the 2007 faculty salaries cut 3.7 percent in 2007, followed by a 16 percent raise over the next three years for both full and part-time instructors.
The district has offered to grant the 3.7 percent restoration to full-time faculty, but not to part-time instructors. The district offered part timers a cumulative three year increase of three percent for a cost of living adjustment.
“We don’t believe the district is negotiating in good faith, they’re trying to downsize classes,” said Chris Hanzo, executive director of AFT Local 2121.
Enrollment has vastly declined this semester. City College has lost 400 credit students, despite noncredit remaining steady. “We are in a period where we want to grow enrollment,” D’Souza said.
“Our top priority for these current negotiations is compensation,” the Employee Relations Office wrote.
In the district’s most recent proposal, they refuse to compensate for restoration or increase for part-time faculty.
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