WATERTOWN — In response to uncertainty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a potential budget deficit of over $5 million, Jefferson Community College plans to cut 20 positions across all categories of employees including classified staff, professional staff, faculty and management-confidential staff.
According to a release from the college, it is working with displaced employees to make the transition as smooth as possible.
In a memo to the campus community earlier today, Ty A. Stone, college president, 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.”
In her memo, Ms. Stone updated staff and faculty on the outcome of the 2020-2021 budget development process, with JCC planning to 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,
According to a release from the college, several factors were taken into consideration including:
— Projected enrollment declines stemming from shrinking populations and post-pandemic uncertainty ranging from 14-24 percent
— Pre-pandemic decrease in state aid
— Anticipated additional decrease in state funding support ranging from 30-50 percent 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. Additionally, members of the leadership team will not receive pay raises. After these 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.”