Delgado to cut positions

Facing a budget deficit of $8 million, Delgado Community College will lay off 115 people next month and cut 15 programs, its chancellor announced Wednesday, while Nunez Community also will see some personnel reductions.

In a letter to the college’s faculty and staff, Delgado Chancellor Monty Sullivan said the cuts were being made in an effort to shore up its finances.

Sullivan said the college identified a budget deficit of $14 million early in the 2013 fiscal year. That was a result of several factors, including cuts in state funding, increased mandated costs and a “slight” reduction in enrollment. Delgado has 18,216 students enrolled now, college spokesman Tony Cook said.

Sullivan said 64 faculty members will be let go, while 51 administrative and staff members will be laid off June 3.

The college conducted another series of layoffs in February, during which time 46 staff positions were eliminated.

Cook said 925 people worked for Delgado before the cuts earlier in the year. Once the next round takes effect next month, there will be 764 people on the payroll, Cook said.

The cuts in February saved about $3 million, but the college still faced an $8 million deficit, Sullivan wrote in his letter.

Sullivan said the college will use $8 million of its $10 million reserves to close out the books on the 2013 fiscal year, a move that will still leave the campus in the red.

Among the programs being cut are environmental studies, cosmetology teacher trainer, collision repair, electrical and electrician energy systems technician, television production, theatre arts and print and broadcast journalism.

In addition to the program cuts, Delgado will continue to freeze nonessential travel, nonessential hiring and nonessential expenditures, will offer an additional retirement incentive package for employees, move to a four-day operational schedule during summer 2013 to reduce energy costs and reduce the athletics budget.

Sullivan said those actions will eliminate more than $5 million in costs each year. Next month’s cuts combined with the February staff eliminations will save Delgado about $8 million a year.

“While the final (fiscal year) 2014 budget is still being developed in the legislative process, these steps will align the college’s budget in (fiscal year) 2014 and hopefully stabilize the budget going forward,” Sullivan wrote.

Sullivan wrote that college administrators last week began to have discussions with each employee who will lose his or her job.

“We have taken every step to be as fair as possible with impacted employees in particular, extending benefits to those employees as far out as possible,” he wrote. “Their service to Delgado Community College and our students is deeply appreciated and will not soon be forgotten.”

Despite the financial uncertainty, Sullivan said he believes Delgado will “emerge from this season of financial challenges a stronger institution even better able to deliver on our mission.

“I look forward to a day in the weeks ahead in which we can turn the financial corner and focus our full energies on serving the workforce needs of our region,” Sullivan wrote.

At Nunez Community College in Chalmette, a spokeswoman says about 15 people are losing their jobs. The contracts of two faculty members end with the close of the semester, May 22. The other staff positions end June 30.

The Associated Press

contributed to this report.