IMPERIAL — Imperial Valley College has finalized some of the cuts it has to make to deal with its budget crisis.
The college’s board voted Wednesday to lay off 17 classified employees, taking action late Wednesday evening.
The college is facing a difficult budget cycle, having to cut multiple millions of dollars and no longer being able to dip into reserves as it had been to teach more students than the state pays for. The cuts originate from budget issues at the state level, which has been continuously cutting education budgets for the past few years.
At the community college, a total of 17 full-time equivalent positions were proposed to be laid off, including 3 1/2 microcomputer technicians, two custodians, four administrative secretaries, two student service representatives and a number of other positions.
Cuts, though, did not come without conflict.
Groups filled every seat in the boardroom Wednesday, with some standing outside the door, leaning in to hear what they could from the speakers and trustees. Some wore their California School Employee Association blue shirts while others had on shirts calling for “solidarity.”
A dozen people spoke out about the layoffs, many of whom would be affected by the cuts personally.
Javier Gutierrez, a computer technician set to get a pink slip, said just because layoffs are being proposed it doesn’t mean the work isn’t there. The college cut two of six computer technician positions last year and now proposed doing away with the rest of them.
The four this year have had to step up to handle more calls and deal with the 1,000 computers on campus, he said. If the board lays off all of them and outsources it, it will take weeks instead of hours to get computers checked.
“Are these cost savings we want to make?” he asked the board. “Who will do these jobs?”
Another person set to be affected by the cuts is Silvia Murray, an administrative secretary.
“Even though we may just be a number of FTE (full-time equivalent) to you, we are an important part of the college,” she said.
Larry Valenzuela had a broader view of the cuts, saying the road to recovery began with the board’s closed-session vote. It’s a decision about saving jobs vs. cutting them.
“Your vote no means saying yes to jobs in an area with high unemployment,” he said.
However, when the board came out after 10 p.m., the final vote was 5-2 to approve the resolution to lay off the employees. Trustees Louis Wong, Karla Sigmond, Jerry Hart, Rudy Cardenas and Romualdo Medina voted yes on the resolution, while Trustees Norma Galindo and Steven Taylor voted against it.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.
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