All COS employees were asked to attend a special meeting last week to hear the latest information about the college’s financial situation, with approximately 105 employees attending.

Due to an enrollment that has remained static and ever increasing costs, College of the Siskiyous is looking at a $1.7 million budget shortage in the upcoming fiscal year. If necessary to close budget gaps, COS President Stephen Schoonmaker said the first reductions would be made “within the administrative ranks.”

All COS employees were asked to attend a special meeting last week to hear the latest information about the college’s financial situation, with approximately 105 employees attending. They were each given a “budget gap input form” with which to offer input into ways to contain costs, create budget savings, and suggest potential revenues for the college.

Input will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 18 in order to build next year’s budget.

The employees were told that at the beginning of the fiscal year, the Board of Trustees approved a deficit budget with expenditures exceeding anticipated revenues by approximately $309,000.

“Due to careful fiscal oversight and a college-wide effort to be good stewards of public funds, the college now projects that they will end the year with a balanced budget,” according to a COS press release.

However, next year’s budget looks bleak, with expenses exceeding anticipated revenue by $1.7 million, according to the release.

“We believe we are a community of caring souls, and intelligent professionals. While the saying goes that two heads are better than one, we extend that belief to say that 150 heads are better than just our five,” Schoonmaker said at last week’s meeting, which was led by the college’s executive team, including Schoonmaker, Vice President of Administrative Services Darlene, Melby, Vice President of Human Resources Theresa Richmond, Vice President of Academic Affairs Char Perlas, and Vice President of Student Services Melissa Green.

“While the budget for next year will require some reductions, the vision for the College remains intact,” according to the school’s press release. “The College has been building, and will continue to build, capacity to fulfill Siskiyous’ mission to transform students’ lives through education achievement and success.”

In 2018, COS identified six strategic program areas through which to generate enrollments and increase retention and completion, according to the release, including the following:

1. Transfer programs to four-year colleges and universities

2. Career-technical and professional programs

3. Distance education offerings, including programs available entirely online

4. Non-credit career development and college preparation (CDCP) certificates

5. International student opportunities and international educational partnerships, and

6. Instructional service agreements (ISAs)

“Over the past three years, the college has made progress in all six of these strategic areas, but more is both needed and expected – and imminently possible,” the release states.

College employees were urged to continue working hard to generate the necessary enrollments and corresponding revenues to help COS grow its budget to a sustainable level.

The college plans to build a budget for the next fiscal/academic year that “maximizes the capacity for enrollment and growth, while simultaneously considering ways to close projected budget gaps,” according to the release.

Should the need for reductions in workforce be required, Schoonmaker said the first reductions “would be made within the administrative ranks.”

“ ... Before we ask anyone else to do more with less, or to lose a colleague within your constituency, we will reduce our administrative resources and our administrative assets – and raise our individual and collective administrative expectations first,” Schoonmaker said.