Adjuncts shouldn’t be sacrificed to poor budget projections.
An ivory tower is how the surrounding neighborhood, whose average household income is $12,000, describes this college, President Robert Vela said.
An ivory tower refers to the isolation of academia from surrounding community.
What would those families think if they knew Vela said he is not too worried about a $4 million shortfall, which represents 6.2 percent of this college’s $65 million budget?
For a $12,000 household, that’s the equivalent of losing $744 from their yearly earnings, or almost 75 percent of one month’s earnings. That could be disastrous for one of these families.
Vela says he is planning to reach out to those disenfranchised households.
We hope that he can and that sensitivity to their economic disadvantages keeps him from overestimating the college budget again.
Missing a budget projection by $4 million isn’t something you should just shrug off as if you forgot your wallet when you go to lunch with friends.
This college’s enrollment has shown a decline the last few semesters despite the rapid growth of San Antonio.
So why budget for an extra $4 million this fiscal year?
That potentially could cost adjuncts their jobs or the slashing of more college services. That will prove even more valuable to a disadvantaged student than the average student.
And please don’t let this lead to yet another tuition increase.
The very adjuncts who could be lost could be the very instructors who are best suited to work with economically at-risk students.
They may be the ones involved making sure that these students do not give up on their dreams.
To put this shortfall into perspective, under the current tuition rate, $4 million could pay for a 12-credit course load for 4,813 nearby residents, or 25 percent of the total reported registered students as of Jan. 6, according to the most recent information technology service update from Thomas Cleary, vice chancellor of performance, planning, accreditation and information systems.
Sure, the operations and financial aid budgets are completely separate, but the significance of this budget shortfall still stands.
If Vela truly wants to help these families who feel their neighborhood campus might as well be in another dimension when it comes to their dreams, he should make sure such a significant budget shortfall never happens again.
If it does, it should not be the adjuncts who suffer but the accountants and administrators who failed to make an accurate projection based on the enrollment trends of this college.
It’s hard to shrug off a budget shortfall, if it’s your neck on the line.