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Tabor College cuts jobs, program

Hard economic times continue to affect Marion County with the layoff of 11 employees at Tabor College.

Tabor College President Jules Glanzer announced Friday the annual operating budget of the college had to be reduced more than $500,000 for the 2009-10 school year.

Despite record-high student enrollment during the college’s centennial year, the difficult decision was made to cut three full-time faculty members and eight administrative staff members.

“In its 100-year history, Tabor College has overcome some significant obstacles including fire, wind, wars, economic depression, and bad investments, to name a few,” Glanzer said. “I am confident we will also overcome the current economic downturn that has led to our current financial situation.”

Glanzer outlined an optimistic and pragmatic plan to redesign the college for the future.

Highlights of the plan included:

  • An operating budget reduction in excess of $500,000 or approximately five percent.
  • Vacancies of one and one-half positions not being filled.
  • Reduction of one faculty teaching load.
  • Discontinuation of the computer science program.
  • Postponement of all sabbaticals for one year.
  • A salary increase of two percent for all employees.

Displaced workers will receive severance packages. Students enrolled as computer science majors still will receive classes necessary to graduate.

Glanzer stated that other college presidents that he had talked with are leading their institutions in some kind of budgetary reduction.

“Most are more severe than we are experiencing,” Glanzer said.

The changes announced Friday are phase one of a three-phase plan.

The goal of phase one is to balance the 2009-10 budget.

“Currently we have a work force that is larger than we can afford,” Glanzer said. “I believe that a smaller work force, paid well, is better than a larger work force, paid poorly.”

The presidents’ decision to increase workers’ salaries by two percent in 2009-10 continues the effort to raise Tabor’s pay increase, which ranks near the bottom for similar colleges in the region.

Phase two of the plan includes investing in opportunities for growth, establishing financial policies that reduce the need for the college to borrow to meet its operating costs, and creating a contingency fund of $200,000 by 2015.

Phase three includes redesigning and restructuring the college, “so we can move from ‘survive’ to ‘thrive’ with a strategic plan for a new and more vibrant Tabor,” Glanzer said.

Tabor College began its centennial year with an enrollment of 612 students, the largest in the 100-year history of the college. The freshman class, with 141 students, is the largest since 1988. Spring enrollment figures reflect this increase, as student enrollment grew nearly nine percent from the 2008 spring semester.

While a decline in student enrollment could require additional budget reductions in the fall, Glanzer said the current 2009-10 budget projections are based on another record or near-record enrollment.

According to Kirby Fadenrecht, senior vice president of business and finance, the college’s endowment fund has declined in value during the past year, as have other colleges and universities’ endowments that were invested in the equities market.

“The decline in value affects our ability to rely on earnings as funding towards our operating budget, so we are making adjustments accordingly,” Fadenrecht said. “The change in value from the beginning of 2008 to the end of 2008 was about 23 percent.”

Glanzer emphasized that the cost of building a new athletic facility was having no adverse impact on the college’s operating budget.

“The capital cost of the new stadium and athletic facilities are all being borne by the generosity and gifts of our constituents,” Glanzer said. “Funds from the operating budget are not being used in the construction of the stadium.”

An executive team meets weekly to carryout the management function of the college and developed the changes.

Team members are Dr. Lawrence Ressler, provost; Fadenrecht; Eric Codding, vice president of student life, learning, and information; Rusty Allen, vice president of athletics, Dr. Linda Cantwell, vice president of enrollment management and marketing; and Jim Elliott, vice president for advancement.

“I am grateful to the president’s faculty advisory council, provost faculty advisory group, the division chairs, the administrative teams of the vice presidents, and the many individual conversations that provided insights, wisdom, and guidance along the way,” Glanzer said. “But in the end, the decisions were mine and I am the one to be held responsible for them.”

The president said his door would be open for those wishing to speak with him directly about the difficult choices being made.

Last modified April 8, 2009

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