Yuba College faculty members feel the effects of a tightening budget, according to the Yuba College Faculty Association. In a Bayside Educational Consultants Salary Comparison, Yuba College faculty, both with Masters and PhD degrees, found themselves ranked 60th out of 72 California community colleges: only 12 other community colleges in California cap their full-time faculty at lower salaries.
Many faculty members point to decisions in Yuba College spending. A comparison of the budgets of the last two academic years reveals that while expenditures on full-time faculty went up 5.3 percent, non-instructional administrative salaries were increased 33 percent.
Statistics provided by the Yuba College Personnel Office indicate that the college’s staffing practice over the last seven years has been to recruit primarily classified and administrative personnel, making only minor changes in the number of full-time faculty. The statistics reveal a 37.3 percent increase of classified staff (such as secretaries and maintenance staff) district-wide from 1994/95 to 2000/01. Over the same seven years, administrative personnel have increased 34.8 percent district-wide.
These numbers provide a striking contrast to the 5.5 percent increase in district full-time faculty over the same seven-year period. The Marysville campus has actually seen a 3.7 percent decline in faculty, losing four full-time faculty members over the last seven years.
However, an even greater disparity appears if part-time faculty members are included in the equation. An analysis of full-time equivalent faculty (FTEF) reveals the total loss of instructors on the Marysville campus.
According to Jay Drury, Dean of Language and Fine Arts, in a memo dated February 7, 2002, the Language Arts division alone has been reduced by 6.2 FTEF during a 5-year span from 1996/97 to 2000/01.
“These reductions have caused the termination of programs at Richland Housing, CTEC and Peach Tree Mall,” explained Drury in the memo. “We have reduced the number of sections of Reading, Speech, English and General studies. We have stopped offering courses in Japanese and Punjabi. We have actually lost one full time faculty member via transfer to Woodland.”
Language Arts has not been the only division on the Marysville campus to see a decrease in FTEF. The Math and Science division has seen a 2.57 decrease in FTEF and the Business division has seen a 2.71 decrease over the same five-year span.
In the context of over a 6 percent increase in district-wide student enrollment, as reported by the Office of Research and Assessment mid-February, a decrease in FTEF means that fewer instructors at Yuba College are attempting to teach more students. In fact, whereas last spring 28 classes on the Marysville campus were being taught above capacity, this semester 106 classes are being taught above capacity.
To students this may mean less individual attention and assistance. In classes with enrollment caps, as in English composition, students will find fewer sections, meaning fewer choices, longer waiting lists, and fewer openings during registration.
Last spring 1,077 total sections of classes were offered on the Marysville campus; this semester 948 sections are offered, a 12 percent reduction. Overall, the district is offering 14 percent fewer sections this semester than last year.
Furthermore, tutoring services may be infringed upon as more budget cuts are made. The Academic Skills Center draws on the “non-personnel” budget of the Language Arts division, a division whose budget has been cut by almost $28,000 over the last five years.
And as the cost of paper and other instructional materials has risen, over the last two academic years money allocated to operating supplies has been reduced 2.3 percent, and the instructional supplies budget has been cut back 6.3 percent.
Yet over the same period, Yuba College has increased its budget for non-instructional office supplies 404 percent.
The future does not promise too much change. According to an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget, funding for community colleges will be reduced by $130 million. A Yuba College hiring freeze is also still in effect until June of this year to reduce the college’s estimated $3.5 million deficit.