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Monday, May 09, 2011.

District negotiating team issues statement

The Antelope Valley Community College District negotiating team issued the following statement May 9 in an effort to clarify its status in negotiations with the faculty union, the Antelope Valley College Federation of Teachers (AVCFT).

Status of Negotiations With AVCFT

There has been a lot of discussion about the status of negotiations between the District and the AVCFT since negotiations reached impasse on April 26th. Unfortunately, there also seems to be quite a lot of confusion. The purpose of this communication is to present all of the facts that led the District to declare impasse in negotiations with the AVCFT.

The District is facing a potential budgetary shortfall of $8.253 million. As has been detailed in previous communications, the District has asked each employee group to make sacrifices to help close that gap. Faculty, classified staff and administrators/managers have all been asked to contribute.

On March 29th, the faculty team presented its analysis of the budget and stated that if schedule cuts proceeded, the faculty would be unwilling to make any other contributions to fill the budget gap. On April 26th, the faculty bargaining team presented its proposal, which was conditioned upon no class cuts to fall and spring semesters and consisted of:

  • 7% pay cut for full- and part-time faculty (approximately -$2.0 million)
  • Reinstatement of the adjunct office hours program (+$362,000)
  • Funding of a Composition Coordinator at 3 hours of release time per semester (+$7,500)
  • Restoration of the fall and spring schedule cuts (+$1.3 million)
    (To pay for adjunct salaries & overload – extra pay -- for full-time faculty)

Net contribution to fill the $3.7 million gap assigned to faculty: $330,500

The District responded that the schedule cuts will proceed and if that was a deal breaker, it sounded like the parties were at impasse. AVCFT responded that, indeed, the schedule cuts would be a deal breaker. The District again said that it appeared we are at impasse and the AVCFT team left the negotiating session.

Why wasn’t the faculty proposal enough to save the schedule?

AVCFT’s proposal would represent a net savings to the district of $330,500. While a 7% pay cut is a significant amount, it does not represent a sufficient contribution to bridge the gap that the District must plan for in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Therefore, on Wednesday, May 4, the District presented its last, best, final offer to AVCFT:

“The following constitutes the District's last best final offer for the purposes of fulfilling PERB requirements for certification of impasse, although your team has already rejected it in principle by stating that you wouldn't be willing to contribute anything beyond the planned schedule cuts.

The District’s proposal assumes the 14.4% cut ($8.253 million) to the District’s state apportionment including a reduction of 1,809 FTES confirmed as a minimum reduction for Antelope Valley College by the Chancellor’s Office on 4/20/11.

It assumes that the District will implement approved recommendations from the Strategic Planning and Budgeting Council to use available reserve in excess of the mandatory 5% reserve over the next three years with 50% being used for 2011-2012, and 25% being used for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.

The unmet gap estimated by the District is $2.4 million. The faculty unit’s share, after planned schedule reductions of 1,809 FTES, amounts to an 8% across the board salary and salary-related benefits cut to full-time faculty, and excludes any changes to out of pocket costs for health and welfare benefits. The health and welfare benefits cap is $13,385.10.

Should the 11-12 base apportionment amount from the state be materially different than what has been the basis for the District’s planning, the District negotiating team will be available to come back to the negotiating table, however, the size of the class schedule is not a mandatory subject of bargaining and will not be up for negotiation.”

Why are the perceptions of the size of the budget gap that must be mitigated so different?

AVCFT’s assumptions regarding the budget incorporate revenues that AVC is due, but that haven’t arrived. These revenues include growth funds for 2010-2011, mandated costs, and other assumptions that make the gap look smaller than the District’s projections. In years past, even when the State’s budget was in far better shape, expected revenues have been raided by the State to meet other obligations in the State. The District believes it would be irresponsible to budget funds that we haven’t received.

The District is operating on a simple premise that you don’t spend money you don’t have yet. If we plan around revenues that we might only get part of or might not get at all, by the time we find out, we will be unable to make changes without even more painful cuts than we are already experiencing.

Why doesn’t the District just preserve the schedule?

The cost of covering the faculty contribution, including saving the schedule and funding the additional requests from AVCFT would amount to a 23% pay cut to all full-time faculty, which the District feels is unacceptable. Moreover, funding faculty salaries is only a portion of the equation when AVC loses revenue from the State. The State gives AVC a little over $4,500 per full-time equivalent student (FTES). The faculty’s proposal only covers the cost of faculty salary at about $1,250 per FTES. The remaining funding from the State covers things like supplies for the classroom, keeping the lights on, and keeping the bathrooms clean. Without these funds, AVC will be unable to serve all of those unfunded students.

The District seems to be planning around a worst-case scenario. What if the funding comes in better than you’ve predicted?

California’s budget is in a state of emergency. The Chancellor’s Office has told the District to plan for the worst-case scenario ($8.235 million reduction in apportionment) and that is what we’re doing. Should the revenue from the State be more than we’ve anticipated, it would be fantastic. We want to offer as many classes as we can so long as we are receiving funding for them.