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Tuesday, April 05, 2011.

Trustees approve option to cut administrator salaries

Antelope Valley College’s educational administrators will be sent letters advising them that their salaries could be reduced in the 2011-12 academic year “by up to 35 percent through reductions in pay, mandatory furlough days, or both.”

College trustees meeting in special session Thursday morning approved the notices on a 4-0 vote, with trustee Jack Seefus absent.

The action was recommended by the administration in order to provide the district flexibility in coping with a state budget cut of as much as $11 million, according to the latest estimates from the Community College League of California.

According to state law, academic administrators need to be provided such notice of pay cuts or layoffs by March 15, in what is commonly referred to as a “March 15 notice.”

“I think that everyone understands that this is a worst-case scenario,” board Clerk Michael R. Adams said in expressing hope that such a reduction would not reach the extreme.

If the maximum cut were implemented, it would save the district $1.26 million – far short of what the district would need to trim under a worst-case scenario.

The action will affect 20 educational administrators, including the superintendent/president, vice presidents, deans, executive directors and directors. (An earlier report that the letters would go to 21 administrators has been revised since no letter will be sent to the vice president of student services, who is retiring prior to the start of the next fiscal year July 1.)

Classified managers and supervisors are not included in the March 15 notices.

In the weeks ahead, trustees are expected to take action on other proposals to reduce the college’s spending in light of state budget cuts.

In a related matter, trustees were asked to support a resolution that calls for statewide tax extensions as a way to lessen the proposed budget cuts to community colleges. Although the resolution was approved on a 3-1 vote, with board Vice President Betty Wienke dissenting, it met with mixed responses from other trustees.

Wienke expressed concern that community colleges are being asked by the governor to take a disproportionate cut in the 2011-12 budget. With what is currently proposed, students will pay more for their education, class sections will be reduced, students will find it harder to finish a degree in two years, employees may have to take pay cuts, and some employees may even lose their jobs, according to Wienke.

“I find it appalling that we’re being asked to support this budget,” she said.

“It’s not good for our students. It’s not good for our staff,” agreed trustee Steve Buffalo.

Buffalo questioned the state’s practice of providing fee waivers to lower income students who qualify for federal aid. Thus, Buffalo said, the burden of increased student fees falls on the middle class.

“We continue to be the whipping boy of the governor and the Legislature,” said Adams. While Adams expressed reservations about the governor’s budget proposal, lack of support could lead to something much worse, he said.