The Carl Albert State College (CASC) Board of Regents approved budget cuts at their meeting Tuesday, including the elimination of the post of vice president of the CASC campus in Sallisaw held by long-time CASC employee Dr. Kathy Harrell (above).
The decisions are in reaction to the massive cuts from the State of Oklahoma affecting CASC for this academic year (FY16) and those expected to occur beginning in July (FY17).
“Changes are being made at both campuses to save money,” said CASC President Garry M. Ivey. “As we have reported in the past several weeks, state allocations have been cut over $800,000 this year, and we expect deeper cuts ahead. The CASC Regents have approved several recommendations regarding programs and positions under the CASC Reduction in Force (RIF) Policy.”
Included in the RIF, Ivey also announced a reorganization plan for the Carl Albert State College Sallisaw Campus.
The President explained, “A vice president (Harrell) solely assigned to the Sallisaw campus will no longer be in place. So for the time being a vice president or associate vice president from the Poteau campus will be at Sallisaw each day for administrative purposes.”
"I am personally heartbroken that I will no longer be associated with CASC," stated the now former VP of the Sallisaw Campus, Dr. Kathy Harrell. "CASC has been a huge part of my life for 20-plus years. I am going to miss the students as well as my co-workers." Harrell also expressed her concern for other CASC employees who have lost their jobs due to these cuts.
Harrell added, "CASC is a wonderful institution and a great asset to our community. I hope that if funding is increased in the future the services and programs that are being eliminated will be added back."
Dr. Harrell concluded, "I would like to wish incoming CASC College President Jay Falkner the best of luck. He will be a great addition to the college."
Ivey also stated, “We will continue to offer classes and TRIO programs as in the past at Sallisaw, but we have to find ways to tighten up our budget. Providing a quality education to students is very important to us, and we will continue to do all we can to be a top choice for students seeking college degrees at Poteau, at Sallisaw, and online.
Ivey explained, “We have been able to keep several full time employees at CASC whose positions were being considered for RIF by reorganizing and reassigning employees. The open positions were made available because of retirements, resignations that have taken place over the past year, or consolidation of duties in certain areas. Right now we have a number of employees considering the Retirement Incentive Program the Regents are offering, and we will know in early May how many employees make that decision.
Ivey stated, “If things were not so dreadful budget-wise we would never consider a RIF, and we are trying very hard to minimize the reduction. In 1992 the state budget was in such peril that the college enacted a Reduction in Force, but this is the first time since then that we find ourselves having to address such difficult issues. We simply can’t continue as usual when our budget reduction from the state is pushing the $1.2 million dollar mark. This is an anticipated reduction from the beginning of FY16 to FY17.”
The Reduction in Force programs and positions include:
Men’s Basketball – suspended
Women’s Basketball – suspended
Art Degree Program – eliminated
Continuing Ed/SrO Program – suspended
Drama Productions – suspended
Language Arts – Spanish Program – minimized – eliminate f/t
Piano courses – eliminated
Cheer – suspended
Temporary Associate Faculty classification – eliminated
VP for Sallisaw – eliminated
Physical Plant Admin Assistant position – eliminated
Office Manager Position/Sallisaw – eliminated
IT Support Specialist Position – (two) – eliminated
Ivey stated, “Today the CASC Board of Regents approved the suspension of men’s and women’s basketball. It is unfortunate that we have to make these tough decisions, but we have to deal with the budget issues placed on us by the State of Oklahoma.
“Our coaches and players have been very dedicated to the college, and we will do what we can to assist them as they transition.
“Some of our part time/temporary positions are being removed as an additional attempt to cut back on expenses. Also, institutional work-study positions have already been trimmed back,” Ivey continued. “Another part of our cost savings is that we plan to temporarily close several of our buildings on campus to save on utilities. The classes taught and offices used in the buildings will be reassigned to other buildings.”
Ivey said, “We will be doing all we can to help students affected by suspended programs, including upholding our scholarship commitments with them if they wish to stay at Carl Albert. Those in the Reduction in Force will be offered as much assistance as we can possibly provide as they move forward.”
Ivey concluded, “Again, I want to assure everyone that our top priority is to protect the classroom and academics at Carl Albert State College.”
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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