Nov 022003
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

Colorado four-year institutions are not the only schools being

affected by the recent state budget cuts.

As of Sept. 5, 190 community college positions have been

eliminated in the Front Range Community College system, said Briggs

Gamblin, the executive director of systems communications for Front

Range Community College. Seventy of these positions are currently

unfilled and there are no plans to fill them.

Travel budgets have been cut 10 to15 percent, Gamblin said, and

colleges have increased the number of adjunct professors who are

teaching classes.

Seventy-five percent of FRCC teachers are adjuncts.

Computer lab hours and tutors have been cut back, class sizes

have increased and some programs have been closed in order to deal

with budget cuts, Gamblin said.

“Some colleges have stopped printing their class schedules,

deciding to offer them exclusively online,” Gamblin said.

Last year, 116,000 students were enrolled at FRCC schools.

“We are the largest system and the fastest growing,” Gamblin

said.

James Butzek, the vice president of the Front Range Larimer

Campus, said Larimer is not much different from any other

school.

“We’re no different from any of the other community colleges in

being hit pretty hard (by the budget cuts),” Butzek said. “By and

large our whole program is run from what the state gives us.”

The Larimer Campus also increased tuition by 5 percent this

year.

“Nobody got a raise and we didn’t fill a lot of (open)

positions,” Butzek said.

Last year, the Larimer Campus received $12.3 million in state

funding. This year they received $11.4 million.

“Tuition is what’s picking it up for us,” Butzek said. “It’s

hurting us, it really is.”

While the cuts are hard to deal with, no programs were cut this

year.

“We didn’t close any programs this year,” he said. “We’re just

having fewer offerings.”

Joan Ringel, spokesperson for the Colorado Commission on Higher

Education, said the total state offerings to community college

systems this year is actually more than it was last year.

“Their total amount is more than it was the previous year.

Clearly it is up to the community college system now (how funds are

allocated),” Ringel said. “It certainly may be possible that some

schools don’t have as much funding.”

Ringel said last May spending efficiency was looked at in not

just community colleges, but also in regular four-year

institutions.

Three areas were looked at as areas that would help alleviate

constraints set in by budget cuts.

Ringel said recommendations to schools include getting out of

the civil service personnel system, not using central purchasing

and participating in the state’s risk-management program.

“Right now faculty and administrators are not part of the civil

service system,” Ringel said.

The other workers at colleges, such as maintenance workers, are

members of the personnel system.

“They have to give those people raises,” Ringel said. “(By

eliminating the personnel system) in good times they could give

raises, in bad times they wouldn’t.”

With the current risk-management system, schools are stuck with

the insurance policy set by the state.

“If they could insure themselves, they could save some money,”

Ringel said.

Family insurance at Larimer Campus has increased in the monthly

amount, Butzek said.

“It’s $500 to $600 more a month for the family,” he said.

Another area that soaks up budget money is using a state

printer.

“We are required by law to go to the state printer,” Ringel

said. “Instead of cutting the best deal, sometimes it costs

more.

 

 

 

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