ECC begins layoffs; 15 positions eliminated so far

 
 
Updated 8/26/2016 5:11 PM
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  • Elgin Community College has sent layoff notices to 15 employees because of funding shortfalls forcing budget cuts, and more layoffs are anticipated.

      Elgin Community College has sent layoff notices to 15 employees because of funding shortfalls forcing budget cuts, and more layoffs are anticipated. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Sharon Konny, ECC vice president of business and finance.

    Sharon Konny, ECC vice president of business and finance.

Elgin Community College has sent layoff notices to 15 employees and more terminations are expected because of anticipated state funding shortfalls, an official said Friday.

Earlier this summer, the college board adopted an $80.3 million 2017 operating budget, including reductions to stave off a projected $2.7 million deficit next fiscal year. Officials estimated at the time anywhere between 10 and 30 full-time and part-time support personnel positions could be affected by layoffs, saving roughly $482,000.

"We will still be within that range," said Sharon Konny, ECC vice president of business and finance. "The majority of the positions eliminated were part-time."

The layoffs have been across a number of divisions, including business and finance, information technology, teaching, learning and student development, and food services.

Konny said positions were eliminated based on whether the work could be consolidated and absorbed by another employee. She would not say which departments would be affected next with layoffs.

"We're working on that right now. It's something we want to address within the next week or two," she said.

ECC has 1,144 employees. Two employee unions pleaded with the college board in June to reconsider the layoffs, asking officials to tap into reserves instead. Support personnel were given the option of taking a salary freeze to stave off layoffs, which the union membership declined because college officials could not guarantee there would not be layoffs in the future.

ECC's position is not unique. College of Lake County in Grayslake eliminated 20 jobs in March, and Harper College in Palatine laid off 29 employees in June.

Gov. Bruce Rauner authorized a stopgap budget appropriation passed by the Illinois General Assembly on June 30 allocating roughly $2.1 million for ECC for an 18-month period -- July 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2016. It is less than half the roughly $5.2 million the college received in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

"As of today, we have not seen any of that money," Konny said.

For the 2015-16 fiscal year, the college received $1.4 million of its budgeted $4.7 million. Therefore, officials budgeted more conservatively this year, expecting only $1.4 million.

"We are obviously seeing the support from the state really shrink," Konny said, adding that legislators will likely tackle funding for the second half of this fiscal year in January. "At this point, I don't know what to expect. We continue to look for ways to cut expenses and still serve the students and provide them with a quality education. Our goal is what's going on in the classroom will have no impact or absolutely minimal impact."

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