Saturday, 13 April 2024

Yuba College faces January layoffs; final numbers still uncertain

LAKE COUNTY – With dozens of classified staff set to be laid off next month, the Yuba Community College District is trying to find ways to spare job losses as it faces growing fiscal restraints.


At an Oct. 14 meeting held in Clearlake, the district's board voted to lay off 56 classified employees, as Lake County News has reported. That number later was adjusted to 58.


The college reported that the job losses will occur at the district's Marysville, Woodland and Clear Lake campuses, as well as district offices.


The layoffs are set to go into effect on Jan. 22, according to college spokesman Adrian Lopez.


The district, which covers eight rural counties including a portion of Lake, had a $48 million budget in the last fiscal year, and is expected to have just over 7,800 full-time students this academic year, according to a message Chancellor Nicki Harrington released earlier this fall.

The Yuba Community College District is facing a $4 million reduction in its operating budget due to state budget cuts, and 84 percent of the college's budget is spent on personnel costs, according to district officials.


California School Employees Association (CSEA) unit negotiator Donna Veal-Spenser said layoff notices have been coming out since the board's Oct. 14 vote.


Between retirements and layoffs she reported a total of 76 positions that could be lost – 51 at the Yuba College main campus in Marysville, 19 at Woodland and six at Clear Lake. Veal-Spenser said all of those numbers should change.


“It's bad,” she said.


Since the October vote – which was greeted by picketing employees who crowded into the meeting chambers, asking board members to consider other measures to meet the fiscal shortfall – the situation has changed, thanks to efforts on behalf of staff, faculty and administration.


In November, the college board of trustees unanimously passed a resolution requesting that all district staff make concessions to help offset state budget cuts, Lopez reported.


The board asked all of the college's employee groups to take reductions equaling a 3-percent pay cut. District management staff also took cuts or made voluntary concessions, which amounted to $65,000.


Other cost-cutting measures the district has reported taking include not filling positions left vacant by resignations or retirements, reducing adjunct – or part-time – faculty positions, cutting department operating expenses and compressing academic schedules.


Based on those concessions, grant funding and an employee resignation, the board of trustees was able to restore four positions at its Dec. 9 meeting, according to Lopez.


The positions in question included the director of Yuba College's Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program – which young science and engineering students had asked the board to spare at the Oct. 14 meeting – two science lab technicians at Woodland Community College and a campus operations specialist at Beale Air Force Base.


Also on Dec. 9, the college board of trustees told Harrington to bring back a budget with 1 percent less of a reserve – totaling about $450,000 – in order to restore more of the positions slated for layoff, Lopez said.


The district's chief negotiator then met with the employee bargaining units on Dec. 11, Lopez reported.


The negotiations have gone in a positive direction, Veal-Spenser said.


The classified employees voted on Dec. 15 to accept a memorandum of understanding with the district that includes employees taking four furlough days during the fiscal year, she said.


There also may be some future discussion regarding retirement incentives, she added.


Veal-Spenser said they're hoping to see at least half of the layoffs restored, but she said that all of it depends on negotiations with the district.


“We don't know yet what positions are going to be brought back for sure and what the district is going to be proposing,” she said. “We're still going to have to hold their feet to the fire.”


While classified and management staff have provided concessions, some other units – like police and adjunct faculty – haven't yet, Lopez said.


The board's next meeting is Jan. 20, just two days before the layoffs go into effect, Lopez said.


In order to continue trying to save as many jobs as possible, “Meetings will be taking place between now and then,” Lopez said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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