ECC's looming layoffs will cut up to 20 support staff

School leaders say layoffs necessary for balanced budget

  • For the first time in its history, Elgin Community College will be laying off employees.

    For the first time in its history, Elgin Community College will be laying off employees. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/15/2016 6:19 PM

Elgin Community College leaders said layoffs are coming with anticipated funding shortfalls next year due to the state's budget crisis.

The college board Tuesday night adopted an $80.3 million 2017 operating budget that is balanced, staving off earlier projections of a $2.7 million deficit next fiscal year.

 

Layoffs will be among support personnel -- anywhere between seven and 20 full-time and part-time positions could be affected, saving roughly $480,000.

"Every college or university has been affected by the state budget situation," college President David Sam said. "There's a limit to what we are able to do, and for the first time we are faced with the possibility of a layoff.

"We are in uncharted territory. We have worked hard to ensure that we will keep any disruption to the college to a minimum. Nobody enjoys doing this. What we are trying to do is to minimize the impact to students."

It's the first time in the history of ECC, said Sharon Konny, the college's vice president of business and finance.

"There's going to be discussions (on positions to be cut) starting this week," Konny said.

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Support personnel were given the option of taking a salary freeze to stave off layoffs, which the union declined because college officials could not guarantee there would not be layoffs later this year, she said.

"There's too many variables with the budget to make a guarantee like that," she said.

College of Lake County in Grayslake eliminated 20 jobs in March, and Harper College in Palatine will lay off 29 employees on June 30.

At ECC, officials cut expenses in several areas, including by imposing a travel freeze for nonessential out-of-state trips, raising the minimum age for senior citizen tuition waivers, not filling vacancies unless critical, reducing food and beverages for internal meetings and training, and deferring nonessential maintenance and capital projects.

Next school year, the college will begin phasing out a 26-year-old surgical technology program. Discussions will continue between officials and the faculty union about the future of that program, Konny said.

The two-year program, started in 1989, had its biggest graduating class of 21 students this spring. There are a maximum of 24 students in each graduating class. Students in the program will be allowed to finish their certification, but no new students will be accepted next year. Officials have said they will look into establishing a joint agreement with neighboring colleges, if necessary, to ensure students in that program continue to be served.

ECC also has suspended tennis and cross country -- affecting 16 students altogether.

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