Over the last few months the Western Oklahoma State College’s executive team has worked to design a 2015-16 academic year budget which safeguards the educational mission of the college. The college’s Board of Regents met for a special meeting on Thursday, June 25 to make budget decisions that the college said were not only challenging and complex, but extremely difficult in many instances.
The budget decisions identified several individuals in full-time and part-time positions to be recommended as part of a FY16 reduction in force proposal. Each of the individuals identified for the reduction in force have been notified by the President’s office and informed of the proposed recommendation to the board. If approved by the Board, this reduction in force will become effective at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.
In addition to the proposed reduction in force, other recommendations include cost savings measures such as reductions in the institutional memberships budget line item as well as the college’s publications budget. The estimated savings for all measures is approximately $500,000.
“These decisions were based on continued declines in enrollment and multiple years of declining appropriations from the Oklahoma legislature,” said Western President Dr. Phil Birdine. “The decisions were made because the college can no longer afford to operate with budget deficits. It is deeply regretful that we arrived at these decisions. However, it is critical that the educational mission of the college be maintained and that we continue with our strategic planning process. I feel confident that the decisions made protect our core mission, align with our strategic plan and are in the best interest of the long term future of the college.”
During the meeting, in relation to these cuts, Dr. Birdine presented a series of items for the board’s consideration and possible action. The items included: the elimination of the dental insurance benefit the college pays on each full-time employee resulting in a savings of $25,312; rescinding the part-time wages for management of the swimming pool and part-time lifeguards resulting in a savings of $28,147; reducing part-time wages for distance learning, resulting in a savings of $15,000; authorizing administration to pursue the prospect of seeking credentialed full-time employees to volunteer to teach one overload per semester with a potential savings of $67,500. The board voted on and approved the recommendations.
Birdine then presented the college’s procedure guide for layoffs and/or reductions in force (RIF). The existing policy on Layoff and Recall allows for the President, in consultation with the Executive Council, to formulate a procedure guide for layoffs or reductions in force. The guide includes procedure and rationale for RIF, powers and duties of the board of regents and other procedural items.
The board voted on and approved the procedure guide proposal.
After being in executive session for about an hour, the board reconvened for the approval of the proposed reduction in force for the following employees. A 30 day severance package for the following employees was also approved by the board. Employees listed were: Gerri Hand – Accounts Payable Clerk; Kristin Snow – Financial Aid/Veterans Specialist; Brenda McCombs – Assessment Specialist; San Trevino – Library Tech Assistant; Brenda Gibson – PT Office Assistant for Academic Affairs; Johnny Conrad – PT Maintenance; George Ruffin – PT Maintenance; Sharlotte Hightower – PR Graphic Artist & Marketing Specialist; Jeri Lyn Drury – PT Admissions Clerk; Walter Blassingame – PT Custodial; Nyoreme Odunwa – PT Custodial; Sherita Rogers – PT Technical Education Secretary; Braylon Clark – PT Security; Kristen Jones – PT Admissions Clerk; Teresa Olivas – PT Admissions Clerk; and Sarah Strode – PT Admissions Clerk.
Tricia Latham also led a discussion at the meeting regarding the possible renewal of the flight training agreement between Western and Red River Flight Academy, LLC for FY 16. The only revision from the previous year is the change of dates to reflect the FY 16 fiscal year.
The Western Board of Regents will meet for its next regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 18, at 7:30 p.m., in the Higher Learning Center at the college.
Guests in attendance included Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic and Student Support Services; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs; Chrystal Overton, Dean of Technical Education; Matt Stangl, Associate Attorney General; Mike Tucker, English Faculty; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Meyer, Director of Public Information.