Dear Colleagues,

As you have all been hearing in the news, the State Budget continues to be a concern for us in the community college system.
To her credit, Chancellor Carroll and her cabinet have already begun the planning process which includes maintaining existing salary and benefit commitments, in addition to ensuring budget cuts do not impact contract faculty and staff, as some of their main planing goals (see items 1-7 in the Chancellor’s memo below).
In addition, a special meeting of the District budget committee (of which I attend) will be held this Friday to discuss this process in more detail.
Although the State is certainly facing a budget deficit, please keep in mind that the Governor’s proposals for how to deal with the deficit are just that:  proposals.  Any action would first have to be passed by the legislature and then signed into law by the Governor.  It is likely that the final product which is eventually passed will look far different than the Governor’s initial proposals.
In short, what this means for this round of negotiations is that the funds which were released to us for this 2007-08 fiscal year will remain available throughout our impasse process.  Next year however, it is unlikely there will be any COLA forthcoming from the state (fiscal year 2008-09).
We will be holding our first impasse mediation meeting with the State appointed mediator next Monday, January 28th.  Hopefully, we will be able to make some substantial progress during that session toward settling our outstanding contract concerns.
Please read the Chancellor’s memo below for more information regarding how the District is planning on addressing the anticipated State shortfall.
I will be sending out more information later in the week regarding our view of the State budget situation, and I will be keeping you posted as budget planning and contract negotiations continue.
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
In Unity,