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LOCAL NEWS: Clatsop Community College faces shortfall

LOCAL NEWS: Clatsop Community College faces shortfall
 
Clatsop Community College is facing a covid-19-related budget shortfall of between a million and one-and-a-half million dollars. The school is figuring out how to cope with the problem, as CoastCommunity Radio’s Jacob Lewin reports:
 
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Much of the budget shortfall will be due to a decrease in state funding of a million dollars or more. Property tax revenue may also dip, but not nearly as much. College President Chris Breitmeyer is hoping that enrollment, and the tuition that it generates, won’t fall:
 
“Typically in a recession, in an economy like we’re going to be in, a lot of folks come to the community college to get retrained, and we could actually see an increase in tuition revenue, so that’s something we’re watching closely right now.” 
 
The school is pushing the idea of enrollment as a safe alternative to universities because many students can stay home. Breitmeyer says to deal with the shortfall, there will a hiring freeze, some retiring employees won’t be replaced, hours of part-time staff will cut, but they’ll be able to keep their jobs:
 
“We don’t have any layoffs slated in this round, but those are certainly on the shelf. Moving forward, there is no option that we won’t investigate.” 
 
The college has built up its reserves, but Breitmeyer says he won’t be dipping into them yet:
 
“”Our goal is to do that as little as possible because we know in the next biennium we’re going to experience a similar thing. The projection from the governor’s office show continued deficits for up to five years.” 
 
For the summer, the community college will continue classes mostly online with some inperson instruction in programs such as welding, automotive, and historic restoration. In the fall, a hybrid of online and in-person is likely complete with temperature taking, masks and distancing. Faculty Association President TJ Lackner says it will be a challenge:
 
“A lot of instructors are preparing courses in multiple different formats, being prepared for any possible situation, which of course is a lot more work. We’re finding even this term, changing a course from a live course to a even an online course using like a zoom for individual class instruction has been a struggle.”
 
Reopening Patriot Hall to the public will also have to wait at least until September.