Another Set of U.S. Colleges Hit by Lower State Budgets
For 120 employees of City Colleges of Chicago, this may be their last semester as the institution copes with a shrinking state budget by slashing jobs.
The reductions will not end with the job cuts, however. Chancellor Juan Salgado announced his priorities for the spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, and they included a wide swath of reductions.
On top of the 120 employees being cut, there will also be a 10% pay cut for senior leadership. The district headquarters are also on the chopping block, currently for sale, while administrative staff will be moved to a different building.
Most of the layoffs will be from the central office, Salgado said.
“This was by far the hardest decision, recognizing the impact it has on people’s lives and families,” Salgado wrote in a campus announcement. “This decision comes with consequences that I feel deeply and yet know they are necessary for our students’ and institution’s success over the long term.”
Cost-Cutting Measures by City Colleges of Chicago
In addition to the cuts already mentioned, City Colleges will also face a total elimination of the pension contributions plan and the full medical reimbursements for district officers, Salgado said. This coming while the Senate is voting on replacing the Affordable Care Act, which may leave many of these employees with few options for obtaining health coverage.
The colleges are looking for other ways to save money as well, such as reduced travel expenses; spending less on materials, contracts, and supplies; and adjusted class scheduling to match demand, which has been dwindling and plays a large part in the financial woes of the colleges.
Salgado tried to put a positive spin on the reductions, claiming that the reclaimed resources would be shifted towards students and full-time faculty, advisers, and admission staff.
“We have all heard stories of tough times at colleges across Illinois, but I want you to know that City Colleges of Chicago will remain open and classes will start on time this fall,” Salgado wrote. “By making strategic decisions, we will continue to make strides in student outcomes and to invest in our colleges and communities.”
While some are hopeful that the sale of the headquarters will help bring cash in, City Colleges face a more troubling foe ahead; weakening attendance. The group of colleges has faced a significant decline in enrollment, as well as a fast-shrinking budget from the state. In the last two years alone, $70.0 million has been stripped from the budget.
“Pinched by state budget, City Colleges plans layoffs,” Chicago Tribune, June 29, 2017.