FA Budget Update
by Jeanine Sepulveda
This year has been met by many challenges…
FA Council has been busy over the past year addressing the needs of our faculty as we negotiated a new contract, negotiated several memoranda of understanding with the district, supported faculty involved in investigations through our Ombuds, and addressed concerns and questions from individual faculty members. The FA has tackled many obstacles, particularly with respect to changes in our working conditions due to Covid, that have been met with lengthy negotiation meetings centered on discussions of a safe return to campus, and back and forth proposals between FAC and the district.
Your contributions matter…
All of these conversations and efforts to represent and support our faculty benefit from strong legal counsel. Unlike most unions that incur costs for administration fees and other blind expenditures, our expenses are few and legal advice is our primary expense. In my experience as treasurer between 50 and 65% of our budget has been set aside for legal. Many of our expenses were lower than normal, and because this past fiscal year was a heavy negotiation year, the incurred legal costs made up about 76% of our actual expenses. We work with one of the top legal teams in the state for supporting community college faculty rights. When questions arise that 1) go beyond the scope of our contract, 2) question past practices, 3) relate to the defense of a faculty member involved in an investigation, or 4) relate to a potential overstep of the district, our legal representation offers advice on how to proceed. We pay a modest retainer as well as consultation fees.
Aside from engaging legal counsel, we also benefit from our active membership in CCCI, the California Community College Independents. CCCI is a group of independent faculty organizations from colleges across the state that collectively share information about contractual matters, negotiation efforts with districts, as well as legal advice. CCCI members share perspectives on statewide issues related to budgets, proposed senate bills and lobbying efforts, and changes in postsecondary education requirements. An example of the latter is the recent passing of Assembly Bill 1111 (signed by the governor October 6, 2021) which requires all colleges in the state to adopt a common course numbering system for all general education and transfer courses before July 2024. Membership in CCCI is our other main expense; last year it was about 21% of our expenses. We also learn a great deal from attending CCCI conferences and being a part of these statewide conversations. Although we did not incur costs for conference attendance this past year due to its virtual format (Covid-related), this will likely change in the future as we return to an in-person venue.
Where we are now…
The FA budget reflects our collective dedication to our working conditions while also demonstrating the council’s commitment to maintaining a conservative approach to both budgeting and expenditures. We are still in the building phase for our reserve account. Reflecting on both the experiences of other colleges with prolonged, stalled negotiations that incurred major legal expenses and the advice from our experienced legal team, council has agreed consistently over the past several years to maintain the recommended goal for our reserve account of $500,000. By the end of the 20-21 fiscal year, we are over half way there with a reserve account of a little over $271,086.
Take a look at the budget:
You can see all of the specifics of our latest budget and year end summary.
We are stronger together. Your contributions allow the FA to protect, define, and work towards the improvement of our working conditions. With a strong, healthy reserve account, we are able to weather the storm of a potential negotiation impasse and continue our important work. Most faculty agree and contribute to our collective cause. If you would like to learn more about the work of our council members or more about the FA budget, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Payroll Deduction Form
To join us and benefit from our collective efforts, please download, complete, and send the Payroll Deduction Form to payroll.