IPBT votes against budget cut plans over funding, equity worries

Diana Piper, Reporter

The Instructional Planning and Budget Team voted against the approval of two budget reduction plans, which would have reduced De Anza College’s budget by $4.5 million for the 2021-22 school year. 

On Oct.20, a vote came after students and faculty voiced concerns about depleting Fund 1320 for part-time faculty by $440,568, 2% of the current fund, as in the first plan. This depletion would reduce the number of sections available, worrying international and working students. 

“This would impact me immediately,” said Eugene Tolentino, business major. “I can’t imagine a program moving forward without [part-time instructors].”

Faculty also fear that depleting Fund 1320 would endanger jobs of part-time staff, as discussed in the last Academic Senate meeting. The senate voted to strongly recommend IPBT voting members not to approve a plan with Fund 1320 reductions. 

“We are going to try to do more of the carrying and sharing of burdens among our faculty members,” said Ishmael Tarikh, part-time faculty representative in the Academic Senate. “It’s so important that we take a position because, morally, ethically and otherwise, it’s the right thing to do.”

The vice president of instruction, Christina Espinosa-Pieb, responded to these concerns by repeating that the reductions were tentative, founded upon past declining enrollment numbers. 

“These numbers aren’t perfect, they’re all subject to change,” Espinosa-Pieb said. 

At the IBPT meeting, the De Anza Associated Student Body Senate criticized the reduction in B Budget, a discretionary fund, as well. Since this budget funds equity-oriented policies, DASB argued that a cut would contradict De Anza’s commitment to social equality. 

“Seing that we’ve recently restated our commitment to equity work, especially anti-racist work, the B Budget could be one source to support this initiative,” said Grace Lim, chair of the DASB finance committee. “We fear that further reducing this fund, when it has already been drastically reduced over the last few years, would only harm the most vulnerable students.”

The second budget plan proposed to retain all of Fund 1320 and split the cuts between Fund 400, capital projects, and Fund 14, for unfilled staff positions. This was not approved either, as some were concerned about whether Funds 400 and 14 were able to weather additional cuts.

“If we’re fighting to not cut sections, and we go into positions, what we’re talking about, potentially, are unfilled positions from retirements of classified professionals,” said Heidi King, classified instructional designer. “That means unfilled work.”

IBPT must now craft another proposal over the next week to recommend to the College Council, separate from the financial office’s proposal. Members complained about a lack of transparency and collaboration from the office in formatting the original proposal.

“We’ve been giving feedback over and over on this first draft, and this first draft hasn’t changed at all,” said Cheryl Jaeger Balm, math instructor and voting member. “We were told it was malleable, we were told we could have input, and none of our input feels heard.”

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