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Faculty Layoff Plan May Be Rescinded

Ventura County college trustees will vote Tuesday in the wake of teachers agreeing to cut salaries to help ease a budget crunch.

May 12, 2003|Amanda Covarrubias | Times Staff Writer

Ventura County community college trustees will vote on a resolution Tuesday to rescind layoff notices sent to all 400 full-time faculty members in March.

Instead, an agreement reached last month with the faculty union calls for scaling back the salaries of all 1,600 full- and part-time instructors to realize a saving of $5.8 million, helping to close an $8-million shortfall.

In return, full-time faculty members are guaranteed no layoffs for the coming fiscal year and part-timers only minimal staff reductions.

The state fiscal crisis has left community colleges struggling to balance their budgets as Gov. Gray Davis proposes about $404 million in cuts to the state community college system next year.

The University of California and Cal State budgets are scheduled to increase.

Ventura County faculty members should expect a 4.3% reduction in their salaries in 2003-04, but a final figure will not be calculated until the number of teachers planning to retire is known and the state determines how much it will withhold from the community college system.

The severity of the rollback would lessen if more than 30 faculty members accept a $25,000 retirement incentive by May 30, officials said.

The reduction is the first districtwide cutback in faculty salaries in a quarter of a century, officials said.

A beginning instructor would lose $1,816 from a $42,648 annual salary, and a master's-level teacher earning top scale at $77,539 a year would lose $3,300.

The proposal by the Ventura County Federation of College Teachers avoids layoffs of its full-time members in the upcoming fiscal year and protects its 1,200 part-timers until spring 2004.

Under the agreement, up to 5% of part-time teachers could be laid off in the spring semester, when enrollment traditionally is lower.

Faculty members overwhelmingly approved the plan April 30 by a vote of 262 to 75, said union President Larry Miller.

Miller, a biology instructor with the district for more than three decades, has announced that he will take the early retirement incentive. He will serve his term as union president for another year.

The union representing non-teaching employees also has agreed to a retirement incentive, as well as 3 1/2 days of unpaid leave and other measures intended to save jobs and money.

About 40 classified employees were laid off in February. Those layoffs still stand.

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