Dalton State Budget Calls for Layoffs, Possible Furloughs

In order to meet its FY-12 budget, Dalton State College will eliminate six positions and may have to schedule furlough days if fall enrollment falls much below that of last year.

“At the same time that we’re looking at decreased funding from the state, we are also forecasting a five percent decline in enrollment,” Dalton State President Dr. John O. Schwenn said.

The entry of Georgia Northwestern Technical College into the community is expected to siphon off some students from Dalton State’s School of Technology, which, since 1973, has served as a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

The College’s FY-12 state appropriation of $12,684,843 is $1,238,255 less than that for FY-11, said Scott Bailey, Vice President for Fiscal Affairs. For the first time in 19 years, the College will not receive enrollment-adjusted “formula funds” and will have to absorb more than $250,000 in increased employee benefit costs that would have been covered by formula funding. In addition, Dalton State will lose $188,093 in stimulus funds as well as $659,248 that is directly linked to the College’s dissociation from the TCSG, a relationship that ends June 30.

The College also loses $211,767 in federal “Perkins” funds (named for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006) that are allocated through the state for technical and career programs.  

“The loss of Perkins funds has resulted in the elimination of three non-faculty positions in our School of Technology,” Dr. Schwenn said. Other positions slated for elimination include two administrative positions at Dalton State’s East Campus and an internal auditing position shared with Georgia Highlands College in Rome.

Dalton State East, a classroom building located adjacent to the Whitfield Career Academy campus, was originally constructed to house technology classes that would be attended by Dalton State and Career Academy students. The 15,000-square foot facility served this year as general classroom space for Dalton State but will be repurposed to house Dalton State’s Adult Literacy program which will move to the facility from the Phoenix Center August 1 and will bring with it its own administrative staff.
Dr. Schwenn says he is hopeful there will be employment opportunities at Dalton State for the displaced employees as existing positions become available.

Other budget-balancing measures adopted by the College include cutting back library hours and reducing library acquisitions, closing the pool in Bandy Gymnasium, and eliminating several casual labor positions. In addition, all departments of the College have absorbed cuts in operating expenses and travel.

There are no funds budgeted for new equipment or renovations and adjunct (part-time) faculty positions and “overloads” (additional classes for which faculty are paid extra) have been reduced by 50 percent; new fulltime faculty will assume class sections previously taught by adjuncts.

State budget cuts will be offset in part by tuition and fee increases passed earlier this spring by the Board of Regents, Bailey said.

If enrollment drops more than the five percent forecast, then Dalton State employees could see furloughs or more reduction in part-time faculty, he added. Additional layoffs could be possible as well, but that won’t be determined until after classes begin in August.

Advance registration for fall is down about one percent from the same time a year ago, but applications are up six percent, said Dr. Jodi Johnson, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services.  “We need to project a decrease in enrollment because of the new competitive environment in which we find ourselves,” Johnson said. “But right now, the numbers look promising and we are encouraged.”
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