President Fierro presents school budget at forum

Benjamin Garcia and Leslie Castaneda

Student retention and bringing in new full-time students is imperative for Cerritos College’s future.

That was the overlying message at the 2016-17 Budget Forum where President Jose Fierro presented the budget for this school year to different constituent groups on campus.

“We increased the number of faculty (23 new teachers and nine new counselors). We increased the salaries of all the employee groups. We had a dip in enrollment, which is obviously going to impact our budget,” he said.

The more full-time student equivalencies the Cerritos College receives, the more resources the school is given from the state. The state doesn’t count the sheer number of students enrolled, but how many units are being taken and one whole full-time student equivalent is made up of twelve units.

For every full-time student equivalent, the school receives about $5,000. The resources from the state are meant to cover salaries and operations.

Budget Manager Conrad Selorio said, “When you have revenue versus your expenses you want to have a surplus. About a hundred full-time student equivalents is roughly to $500,000 in revenue.

“Retaining students is a big part of [what Cerritos College faces]. If you don’t have students, you don’t have revenue.”

Selorio helped create the budget by analyzing positions from systems, historical data from the year before, and the status of new hirings on campus.

Minimum wage increases will have an impact on the budget and the school will have to find additional streams of revenue to balance the budget, layoffs are highly unlikely.

Dr. Fierro continued about the deficit, “We are working to make sure our projections are good. We are looking for cost effective solutions to our deficit of $3.6 million, but it is important to remember we had savings of five million that would carry over.”

Some of the strategies to retain and introduce new students are implementing the concurrent enrollment, opening more courses that are in high demand, and creating more online and hybrid classes.

Faculty Coordinator for Student Grievance, Mediation, Conduct, & Title IX Progression Sally Havice said, “The president talked about weekend college and I was writing down a few things that I want to ask.

“I think that there are people in the community who haven’t received the message yet. The high schools don’t want to tell the students that they don’t need to get a diploma to go to college.”

Havice continued, “There is a program where the college is reaching out to students in high school, where they are teaching college level classes. That will help the college’s revenue,”

She went on, “But somehow I have a hunch that it’s not going to be those students who need special attention.”