As Seattle Central faces budget cuts, supporters rally around favorite programs

After years of trimming its budget back but doing everything possible to not trim away classes, things are dire enough in the latest state budget that even Seattle Central Community College’s strongest programs are clouds of worry this week. You might have seen an e-mail from your favorite SCCC-connected person — there are about 10,000 students enrolled at the school, by the way — asking for your support for programs that could be on the chopping block. CHS has received several from people worried about the Capitol Hill school’s Parent Education Center, for example. There are reasons to be worried — the school is still searching for $2 million in cuts, we’re told — but the childcare center is probably not one of them.

“The childcare center does a pretty good job supporting itself,” SCCC spokesperson Laura Mansfield tells CHS. “It’s such a resource for our students.”

Mansfield told CHS that the center is also supported by SCCC’s non-profit foundation so enjoys a greater buffer from the cutbacks in Olympia.

Mansfield said that school administrators have already planned about $2.5 million in cuts — much of that arrived at by planning “labor reduction” like eliminating positions where somebody has recently retired or left the school. SCCC, like public colleges throughout the state, is in the midst of sorting out how best to cut more. In SCCC’s case, $2 million more.

Labor reduction of $1,405,602, including

 Savings from restructuring of Foundation Office

 Layoffs of three (3) classified positions

 Shifting of three (3) classified positions to local funds

 Eliminating two (2) VACANT classified positions

 Eliminating four (4) VACANT exempt positions

 Eliminating three (3) VACANT faculty positions

 Buyouts of two (2) faculty positions Reducing hourly budgets

 Volunteer furloughs in one department

Goods & services reduction of $53,948

Other reductions of $150,000 from campus‐wide budgets

Worker Retraining Reduction of $797,020 (removal of one‐time funding)

 Most of this Worker Retraining money is being used for part‐time faculty budget

“Even if we cut all our student services,” Mansfield said, “we still would not have enough to come up with this cut.”

SCCC is looking at cutting back instruction by eliminating programs. At a budget meeting last week at the Broadway Performance Hall, a list of eight “Programs Requiring Additional Analysis” was a hot topic: 

  • Apparel Design: Issues requiring additional information: low student:faculty ratio; higher median costs of program; higher cost to generate FTE than similar-sized programs; Less than 70% job placement.
  • Film & Video Communications: Issues requiring additional information: Higher cost to generate FTE that similar-sized programs; sufficient faculty workload; low rates of student completion within program period; less than 40% for job placement.
  • Publishing Arts: Issues requiring additional information: Low numbers of State FTE generation; low student:faculty ratio; Higher median costs of program; higher costs to generate FTE than similar-sized programs; less than 50% completion within the program period.
  • School of Opticianry: Issues requiring additional information: Higher cost to generate FTEs; job marketplace not requiring this degree; how could the program operate in a self-support basis?
  • Interpreter Training Program: Issues requiring additional information: Less than 50% completion rates; Less than 50% job placement; High specialized costs for technology purchase, maintenance, and support; not certified program -certification would require additional costs to further reduce student:faculty ratio; TAC noting near saturation in marketplace; ITP requiring BA degree in 2012.
  • Parent Education Program: Issues requiring additional information: Relationship between core college mission; Cost of generating FTE; how could the program operate in a self-support basis?
  • Information Office: Issues requiring additional information: Relationship between core college mission; Possible redundancies with Campus Security and Student’s Information Desk.
  • Basic Skills: Issues requiring additional information: How the District and State is positioning Basic skills regarding cost per FTE and related tuition model; District determination of reduction of sections.
  • Distance Learning: Issues requiring additional information: Staffing model indicates some overlap in duties; question regarding refining mission of credit and non-credit courses through DL; role of reorganization with DL and other areas (like the Information Office) and other positional reorganizations for cost-savings.

Mansfield says the list should not be seen as a list of “at risk” programs but acknowledged that each — including the Parent Education Program — are getting hard looks this week as administrators work to gather information that proves if the programs pencil out in the new budget. Cuts could come from other programs — but the numbers are being crunched on these.

The result, Mansfield said, will be significant cuts in instruction.

“We’re not offering as many courses as we’d like to offer,” Mansfield said. “Students will find it harder to get the courses we want.”

“Our whole mission is accces. The idea that students might not be able to do that is devastating to us.”

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5 thoughts on “As Seattle Central faces budget cuts, supporters rally around favorite programs

  1. Dear Sirs and Madams:

    I am Katie Roberts, a professor at Seattle Central’s American Sign Language program. Although my program is distinctly different from the ITP program, many of my students proceed to enter the ITP and continue their studies there. I am in full support of the ITP program continuing. My apologies for a long comment, but I am going to copy and paste the letter that we are sending out to everybody in regards to the threat towards our ITP program. We would like to set the record straight with SCCC and with everybody. Thank you for taking the time to read the letter.


    What is happening with the ITP at Seattle Community College?

    At this time, nine programs are under scrutiny because of state budget cuts. Those cuts are forcing SCCC to make decisions about which programs to cut based on financial solvency and program viability. SCCC wants to make sure that programs are not too expensive, and that they are getting good results such as high graduation rates.

    ITP is in danger mostly because of flawed data from the Dept of Labor (DOL). One of the mistakes that the DOL makes is that they collect information on the hiring and use of foreign translators and sign language interpreters by putting them in the same category. This means that the DOL thinks that sign language interpreters are the same as foreign language translators, when in reality the two jobs are very different. The data does not show what sign language interpreters really do. The cabinet (a committee composed by the SCCC President, VP, and other interested parties) is also under the impression that the market for sign language interpreters are fully saturated (meaning that we do not need to train any more). In addition, there are problems with our graduation rates. The ITP has several options for students: they may get an AAST degree, or go for Deaf studies and get an AA instead. The AA is not counted, and also due to the open enrollment policy that means we get students who enter the program unprepared, decide it isn’t for them, and leave. Despite that, we have full enrollment every year with waiting lists. The college is also concerned about funding for equipment maintenance of the ITP lab (which was just recently set up). Those are all concerns the college has, and the ITP instructors and staff wish to correct this misunderstanding and supply them with the correct data and information.

    What you can do at this time is to send an email to and follow the format outlined -in your email, please calmly and clearly 1) Identify yourself and what kind of stake you have in the ITP program (future ITP student, ITP student, ITP grad, member of the deaf community), 2) clearly state that you wish for the ITP program to remain open, and 3) Give a reason why the program should stay open – financial and job related reasons. If instance, if you have a job now because of ITP, you need to tell them. If you use interpreters from ITP, you need to tell them. They need this kind of information, not just emotional appeals (which we all have!), and 4) Close your letter politely by thanking them for reading your letter and offer further support for the program if needed.

    Originally, the decision would have been made by June 1st, but due to complaints about flawed data by all the programs under consideration, they have decided to postpone the decision date, until they have collected more data to assess. We ask for you to remain calm and wait for the final decision. If we need your support, we will let you know immediately, and we will let you know the best way to give us your support. Please keep your eye on emails and other announcements such as on Facebook or Deaf Northwest News throughout the summer for more information, because this is when the most activity will likely happen.

  2. I just want to add that Katie was one of my professors and she is excellent at what she does, while providing a very valuable service. Thanks Katie!!! :D

  3. The Parent-Child Center is not the Childcare Center. These are two different things entirely.

    The Parent-Child Center, as well as all area co-operative preschools under it’s umbrella offers parent education as well as early learning opportunities to the children of Seattle. The co-operative preschool program in Seattle presages the college by many years, and thd Parent-Child Center was built specifically for it’s use when the college was being built.

    The childcare center is a care facility available for students to place their young (ages 18 months to ??) children for care while they attend classes.