Path to Recovery Update 5/27
May 28, 2020 - 03:08 PM
The Mt. SAC Path to Recovery update provides a summary of large scale efforts from the college to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, including its related economic impact.
Commitment to Communication
Mt. SAC’s president and vice presidents have committed to providing weekly communication to employees on Mt. SAC’s Path to Recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and its related economic impact. The college’s diverse efforts to continue in its educational mission while navigating the public health challenge are detailed in President Scroggins’ Cabinet Notes. These updates provide short summaries.
Virtual Town Hall
Mt. SAC held a Virtual Town Hall to update the campus community on COVID-19 related issues as well as the economic impact of the crisis. Speakers included the college president, governance and union leaders, as well as the college vice presidents. To watch the full event visit the Virtual Town Hall website. College leadership expressed gratitude and appreciation for the spirit of collaboration and creativity that has helped the college move forward throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Key topics brought forward in the town hall are highlighted below.
Return to Campus Task Force
Colleges and universities are expected to reopen (with appropriate safety protocols in place) once Los Angeles County reaches Stage 3 of its Five-Stage Reopening Process. In preparation, a cross-campus task force has been brought together, led by Vice President of Administrative Services Morris Rodrigue. The task force is outlining key tasks, provisions and procedures required to bring employees and students safely back to campus.
Summer and Fall Classes Online
Due to direction from the Los Angeles County Department of Health and the state of COVID-19 in the county, summer classes will be scheduled entirely online. In the fall, all courses that can be taught online will be taught online. Department chairs and deans are still finalizing schedule options for both fully online delivery and partial on-campus instruction in curricular areas that cannot be taught remotely. The college is strongly advocating for exemptions, particularly to train essential personnel in public safety and health-related professions.
Emergency Fund for Students
Thanks to federal funding from the CARES Act, Mt. SAC has developed an emergency grant for current students who show an urgent need due to COVID-19. Students can apply for the grant on the Financial Aid website. The college previously disbursed nearly $7 million directly to 10,400 eligible students.
Budget Changes in May Revision
Each May, the California Governor’s proposed budget is updated based on the latest economic forecasts. With coronavirus and the related economic crisis, the budget picture changed drastically from the initial January proposal. Dr. Scroggins will be providing a full analysis of the May Revision Impact on Mt. SAC in his Cabinet Notes. Three major impacts include:
- Budget Baseline Better than Anticipated. The current 2019-2020 budget is based on the P1 Rebenching Allocation. Ultimately, this means Mt. SAC is better positioned with a base revenue at $197 million instead of $190 million.
- Reduction in the Student Centered Funding Formula. Colleges are currently expecting a 10% cut in funding from the Student Centered Funding Formula in 2020-2021. The cut will be less severe thanks to a cost of living adjustment of +2.31%. This effectively becomes a SCFF budget reduction of about 8%.
- Deferrals Expected – Mt. SAC is Prepared. The state is anticipating the use of deferrals for both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 fiscal years. Similar to providing an IOU, colleges will be able to use the promised budget, but the deferred funds will not be available until the subsequent year. In the past, many districts have had to borrow money to cover the gap in funding. Thanks to a strong rainy day fund, Mt. SAC is well positioned to cover the cost of deferrals and weather budget reductions.
Mt. SAC Budget Strategies
In anticipation of budget reductions over the next two to three years, the Mt. SAC leadership team has begun planning strategies to safeguard the college, ensure quality education continues, and protect permanent positions. Initial conversations include the following:
- Hiring Frost. The college will limit hiring to essential positions. Criteria have been developed and position reviews are underway.
- Spending Analysis. Each department manager will analyze their 3-year budget and expenditures and then work with their respective vice presidents to identify regularly unused allocations.
- Review of Overtime. Managers and their respective vice presidents will analyze overtime and find ways to limit overtime expenditures.
- Investment Considerations. Mt. SAC’s trusts for paying retirement health benefits as well as for weathering budget challenges are both in good positions. The college is exploring strategies, such as delaying contributions to the funds.