The recent "Across the Campus" email projects that our FTES (full-time-equivalent students) will decline 1.1% for 2015-16, compared to 2014-15. If you think that's a problem for contract negotiations, you've been caught in the smokescreen.
You see, the administration all along has been planning on "going into decline" during 2015-16, rather than trying to grow this year. Chief financial officer Ron Nakasone sketched his plans in this regard at several meetings of the Budget committee in 2015 but, tellingly, never sought approval for them. It is outrageous that such a major, unprecedented policy shift was made without it properly going through our college governance process.
Despite not getting Budget committee's approval for this strategy, the District took advantage of it, offering fewer total teaching hours in 2015-16 than in 2014-15. State policy is that despite providing less work to faculty, and (not surprisingly) serving a smaller number of students (as measured by FTES), the college's funding stream is "stabilized" for this one year. Spend less, serve fewer, and still earn the same.
But outrageous doesn't begin to describe the deceit where various people have now tried to argue that this long-planned decline, engineered by the administration, is somehow a sign that faculty compensation needs to be lowered starting in July rather than raised. With the decline strategy, the college SAVES money by offering fewer teaching hours, so laugh in their faces the next time you hear that one.