News Local/State

Parkland College To Begin Layoffs As A Result of Budget Standoff


Parkland College in Champaign will begin layoffs next week as a result of the ongoing state budget standoff.  In an e-mail to employees Thursday, Parkland President Tom Ramage said nine positions will be cut to make up another $567,000 in cuts made necessary by a lack of state funding. 

The layoffs  - as yet unspecified  - follow an initial round of staff reductions using a voluntary separation program. That’s expected to save just over $1 million.  Ramage says the college hasn't had layoffs on this scale in at least 25 years.

Ramage’s announcement comes after Parkland Trustees voted to raise tuition rates by more than 11 percent.

In an interview earlier this week, Ramage says Parkland would rather do that, than hurt the quality of programs.

“We can always look at reductions later on," he said. "But going into the first part of the fiscal year, we have to have that revenue, that baseline revenue, that we need to operate at the way the community expects Parkland College to operate. We haven’t touched any programs, any student impacted programs yet, but we’re not far away.”

In his e-mail to employees, Ramage writes that there’s quote "nothing in the political process that leads me to believe that a solution is imminent."

Parkland started the current fiscal year with 492 full time staff. Ramage says the school will start the next one with 445 - a reduction that includes retirements and resignations, as well as layoffs, and voluntary separations.

Ramage says Parkland is making budget plans for FY 2017 assuming a 50-percent reduction in state funding after talking with colleagues around the state.

"(That figure) is based on absoutely nothing, other than it's someplace to start in terms of building a budget," he said.  "Nobody really knows.  This may end tomorrow, it could go another three years.  But we have to use some number.  And to look at zero percent for next year again of our state funding, that's catostrophic.  That's another 50 people."

Ramage says Parkland is a small enough institution where it doesn't have a lot of 'fluff', or positions that could go away one day, and not be felt the next.