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Palomar’s Reorganization Plan Raises Questions

Story by Luke Vore, Emiliano Ramos and Jake Koehler

During a State of the Budget Zoom call that took place on March 24, many questions were asked about what Palomar plans on doing with its reorganization.

During the interview, Teresa Laughlin, the Palomar Faculty Federation (PFF) President, pointed out some numbers that did not make sense. She noticed that the enrollment projection growth was consistently changing starting at five percent, then seven percent and finally one percent, so she asked how it dropped to one percent.

Ambur Borth, the VP of Finance and Administrative Services, said they were basing the reports and projections off of assumptions and best case scenarios instead of creating a second model to present the worst case scenario.

She also stated that before the pandemic, the department was at a .65 percent decline and that they have not vetted the enrollment growth percentage. They were hoping that they would regain the slight loss they were seeing before the pandemic, but instead it has gone into the negatives.

A follow-up question was asked about OPEC regarding a loan Palomar took out. Officials plan on paying off that loan in one year, however Laughlin questioned exactly why they must be so quick to pay it all off.

“It seems like to pay it all at once, is really kind of tying our hands,” said Laughlin, who then said it could be paid off like a mortgage, which would then help the school have a bit more money in its pocket.

Another question that Laughlin asked was regarding the $750,000 in reorganization and if that included additional positions. The administration stated that it is just regular positions, some of which are empty that can be filled while others would be replaced.

Palomar plans on making many more changes to help get out of the current deficit, but with some of these questions being answered, there is a better understanding of the school’s current path.

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