20 Jefferson Community College staff members lose positions after budget review

ABC50 NOW

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – In a memo to the campus community earlier today, Jefferson Community College President Dr. Ty Stone updated staff and faculty on the outcome of the 2020-2021 budget development process.

In response to pandemic-related uncertainties and a potential budget deficit of over $5 million, JCC will embed critical services, streamline degree paths and enhance the learner experience to serve students.

The comprehensive campus-wide budget review resulted in several organizational changes, including the loss of 20 positions, among all categories of employees including classified staff, professional staff, faculty, and management-confidential staff. JCC is working with displaced employees to make the transition as smooth as possible.  

In her memo to the campus community, Dr. Stone stated “It is with deep regret that I am announcing that we must reduce our workforce. These changes in personnel are necessary to protect the ongoing sustainability of the College. We all know this will be a painful process, and that we, as a campus family, will be grieving with our impacted employees. I am making the commitment on behalf of myself and Cabinet to lead with compassion, above all else, during this challenging time.”

With the global health crisis striking at a time when higher education was already facing significant financial challenges, several factors were taken into consideration including:

  • Projected enrollment declines stemming from shrinking populations and post-pandemic uncertainty ranging from 14-24%
  • Pre-pandemic decrease in state aid  
  • Anticipated additional decrease in state funding support ranging from 30%-50% post-pandemic
  • Costs associated with safely re-opening the College post-pandemic
  • Long-term sustainability

Other actions taken to balance the budget included decreases in equipment purchases and contractual services, along with decreases in part-time professional and adjunct budgets. Members of the leadership team will not receive pay raises. After the reductions, a budget shortfall remained which required personnel realignment and a reduction in workforce.

In a statement on behalf of the College’s Board of Trustees, Chair Nathan P. Hunter said “These are extremely difficult decisions that no one ever wants to have to make. Every person impacted has played a role in the good work of the institution. Unfortunately, the College has been operating in a lean fiscal environment for some time already, and now the pandemic has put an even greater financial strain on the State and on higher education in general.  In addressing these fiscal challenges, the College’s administration has streamlined operations to ensure that Jefferson remains sustainable and can continue to deliver on its promise to educate, inspire and empower our community members.”

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