Weekly Update – May 16, 2010

on May 16, 2010 in Weekly Update

Hello San Jacinto College Community!  

Are you slowly starting to breathe a sigh of relief as the semester is coming to an end? And what about that sense of pride from celebrating four graduation ceremonies over the past week?  As our work for this semester wraps up and as we get into full swing for the mini and summer sessions, I am reflecting on my open “to do” list for the summer. We all know that these “to do” lists can go on and on, but the real challenge is how to focus our work to accomplish the most off of these lists.

My focus over the summer will be largely to continue development of the college’s strategic plan and the budget for 2010-2011, in order to share both during the fall College Community Week. We have gotten a great deal of feedback from the Planning Council, through other discussions that have occurred at the campuses and at such meetings as the Entering Student Success Institute, and from the Board of Trustees.  This information is now being reviewed and assembled through the work of the Strategic Leadership Team. This feedback and these conversations will inform our strategic plan, which will, in turn, inform the budget.

On the budget outlook, the summer will be a critical time in developing our budget assumptions. In early June, we will receive additional information on property valuations for our taxing district. We anticipate a decline, but hope that it will be in the low single digits. Additionally, we are still waiting on what will happen at the State level. Last week, we received an update that the state’s budget deficit is anticipated to grow to nearly $18 billion for the next legislative session, along with a significant lag in sales tax collections for the current biennium.  While no formal action has been taken on current biennium budget cuts, there is still much discussion regarding a reduction of 5% per year or a total of 10% for the biennium. Since it is getting so late in the year, we must be prudent and begin preparing for a 10% cut or hold-back next year. Historically, San Jacinto College has been conservative in our budgeting practices which will help us as we prepare for this time of uncertainty. It will also be critical for us to ensure we focus our resources on our strategic priorities.

As I look at other open items on the “to do” list, there is one that was discussed at last year’s College Community Day that has not been fully addressed. This item is related to the work of the Faculty Load Task Force. We knew that the work of this Task Force would take several years to implement and was dependent on available budget.  During January 2010, we implemented recommendations related to cosmetology loads. The other recommendations from this task force are being re-evaluated during the budget development process this summer.  I anticipate that the faculty will be notified of next steps during College Community Week in August.  The decisions we make by August will be implemented for the spring semester 2011.

We have many opportunities in front of us, and we will continue our work together around planning and development.  Good luck as summer sessions start this week, and congratulations on a great spring semester. 

Best,

BH

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