The last few weeks have been unpleasant to say the least. At work, the administration has announced that we currently face a budget deficit of 1.5 million and that number is projected to be close to 3.5 million by 2016. That dollar amount is the equivalent of 54 positions totaling $50k salary and benefits. What does this mean? It means cuts and layoffs. We knew this was coming but we didn't know to what extent and last week our department was told to find a 10% savings or make cuts.
I've been pretty worried about this as I've only been around seven years and am relatively new compared to the people who have been there. I think finding a 10% savings within our department is pretty easy to do but unfortunately I'm not the one making the decisions. Essentially, as with anything, it's out of my hands. In this area, there aren't a lot of jobs so a job loss here could be devastating. If I lose my job it's possible Erin would have to leave hers and we'd have to relocate. It's obviously not fun to think about and hopefully won't happen but at this point I can't rule anything out. Today, you need two good incomes to support a family and being in such a rural area without any real large businesses around makes losing a job very hard.
I've been considering alternate options just in case something does happen but obviously because of our location those options don't pan out to much. The best solution that I can think of is to move; although much of the country is feeling the same kind of problems right now. I do think there are different areas of the country though that are doing better than others. Unfortunately for us, this has been an ongoing problem. In 2008, a few staff positions were laid off due to budgetary reasons. The President back then projected that in 2015 we would be 750,000 in the hole if we didn't "change the way we did business". She tried to take the right steps to make the necessary cuts to put us in a better position as we approached this date but unfortunately people protested her decisions and went nutty forcing her out. The issues were never resolved and instead of 750k here we are at 1.5 million.
I think the biggest problem they have here is that there are literally not many areas they can cut and there certainly are not many employees that can be cut. In the words of a co-worker, "we're bare bones as it is." I don't know what the answer is and I don't pretend to know. My biggest fear is that we shutdown completely and go out of business. I can't see it happening as we have two of the best programs in the country but you never say never in this business. We're driven primarily on the student tuition and if they don't come, they don't pay, and we don't get paid. A large part of this problem stems from a record low number of college students right now. Simply put, people aren't having as many kids these days and unfortunately that is what causes a lot of problems.
When I was going to school ten years ago my class had over 500 students. Today, they're hovering around 400. That's a huge difference if you figure each student has to pay upwards of 20-25k a year. That's a lot of money lost in the overall budget and with small next to nothing state appropriations, the options are limited. People I work with are scared and so are some of the students. These are bug time budget decisions and they could affect me and some my close friends. So, what's the answer? Well, I guess within the next few months we'll find out.
Fingers crossed it's not my job or anybody elses.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
I've slowed up posting to this blog lately and it's showed through followers and comments. For that, I apologize. I've been quite busy outside of the world wide web lately though. Honestly, I've been a lot happier without worrying about what I'm going to post, who I'm going to talk to on facebook, and what my email has for me. There are so many people around me who are just so addicted to their smart phones, the internet, and so on that I've been a lot happier living life without it.
I've been busy with Lily each day and working on projects around the house. In the last few months I've taught myself how to run electricity and I've been making our house the home we want it to be. Currently, we're working on making the downstairs a finished area as it makes more sense to spend time near the pellet stove and not waste the heat on the second floor in the winter.
On top of that, I'm not sure if I mentioned this previously or not but we're planning another trip to Disney World! We plan to go in the Spring for five nights but we plan to spend a few nights visiting my Aunt and Uncle in Hollywood. No, Lily is not going. Eventually she will come with us and she will love it but right now she's still to young. I will not take her until she's old enough to both enjoy and remember the experience. I think right now it would be more work than fun but she'll be even happier with Grandma and Grandpa for the week.
The school seems to be going through some financial challenges right now. Next week I'll be attending a meeting to find out more about the current state of the college. It seems to be a consistent problem among New England schools as enrollment has gone down in the region. There are less high school students which is making recruitment much more stressful and challenging for recruiters. I'm hoping it's not bad enough that people lose jobs but I'll know more next week. I think this year we'll be okay but it seems like anything goes next year. The goal is to increase enrollment and continue working hard to keep retention up in the future.
That's all for now... Enjoy the Fall foliage!