Reorganization plan going back

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By Nita Gandhi / News Editor

By Nita Gandhi / News Editor

The draft reorganization plan that RCC Chancellor Gregory Gray submitted was the main concern at the Board of Trustees meeting on April 20. 

The conference room in the administration building was packed with students and faculty. The Board is set to vote on the reorganization plan on May 18. 

Two faculty members spoke to the Board of Trustees and the chancellor to voice their concerns about the reorganization plan and the class cuts it will bring. 

“Summer has already been cut,” said John Sullivan, part-time associate English instructor. “Riverside is still in the process of cutting its course sections by 30 percent.  The students are lining up and they can’t get classes.” 

Melissa Bourbonnais, a part-time political science instructor told her class about the plan and at the meeting she read a small paragraph from one of her students. She shared how the class cuts have affected her students.

“They were saying things like its been difficult for them to get financial aid because you need a minimum amount of units; that it’s made it difficult to transfer and it’s affected their ability to secure scholarships,” Bourbonnais said. “It has prolonged what is supposed to be a two-year education has turned into a three-and-four-year education.”

Bourbonnais further said that students have become so desperate to get into her class that those who do not have priority registration have approached other students who are in the class and have offered to buy their spot in the class. 

“I don’t like that the reorganization plan is not a cost saving measure,” Bourbonnais said. “It really doesn’t reduce the size of administration; it does a tiny bit…but it also creates some positions as well.” 

When classes are cut the number of students is reduced and the number of faculty is reduced.  Bourbonnais said that there is no real sacrifice from the administration. 

“Maybe its time to furlough the administration,” Bourbonnais said.

Chancellor Gray, was asked by the Board to design the reorganization plan as a result from the accreditation of Norco and Moreno Valley. 

“Now that we are three full colleges, the idea is that you take resources that adhere at the district level and distribute those resources to the colleges, particularly to Norco and Moreno Valley, the new ones,” Gray said. “As accredited institutions it’s mandatory they develop their own administrative structure.” 

Gray addressed the concerns about the class cuts.

“It’s the timing.  We have major budget cuts and we are eliminating a lot of sections typically taught by part-timers. And at the same time we are looking at an organizational structure that takes us into the future and necessitates new administrative positions.”
Gray said that new administrative positions would not be realized for a few years.  There have also been some positions that have been cut.

“The position of vice chancellor for student services, a position that was held by Dr. Linda Lacy…that position has been eliminated,” Gray said. “Position of associate vice chancellor for student services will be eliminated on June 30. We have had a collapse of deanships that have been merged into one.”

Another topic mentioned in the Board meeting was about money. Departments are allowed to apply for grants and use that money for their department. 

Gray said that RCC has received the $4 million from the American Recovery and Reconciliation Act and that has been used for the culinary arts and some of RCC’s health care. RCC has also received a few grants. 

Before the reorganization plan is voted on next month, Chancellor Gray will be meeting with others to edit and revise the plan to get input from the part-time faculty, and, the College Union, California Teachers Association and others.

Editor’s Note:  Chancellor Gregory Gray sent a letter to faculty and staff regarding the reorganization plan that he hopes will see no classes cut.

Class cuts are the big issue with the reorganization plan. Many students cannot get into classes because they are so full and faculty wants to see some sacrifices from the administration by possibly taking furlough days.

Now that Norco, Moreno Valley and Riverside are three different colleges they must each come up with their own budget and plan for their college. Therefore resources must be shifted for each college.

“RCCD faces a projected $7-10 million budget deficit next year,” Gray writes. “Yet we are in better financial shape than many other California community colleges.”

He mentions in the letter that there will be projected savings from the early retirement incentive program to offer some relief for the budget deficit.

“I expect the upcoming budget discussion to be inclusive and collegial,” Gray wrote. “The only other directive I will give to the colleges is NO MORE SECTION CUTS.”

Gray and the Board of Trustees will vote on the reorganization plan on May 18. First he will meet with teachers’ unions, and faculty to come up with a plan that is suitable for all, especially students.

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