Story by Adam Correa and Emmanuel Barrera
The Palomar College Governing Board hosted a “State of the Budget” meeting on March 24, and Interim President Jack Kahn spoke about his 10 steps to getting back to financial solvency following a $12 million deficit.
Palomar has been in a budget crisis for a couple of years, which was reported by The Telescope last spring. Kahn explained a week ago the 10 steps of how to lift the school out of this budget crisis.
1. FCMAT 2019 progress
Kahn said in the State of the Budget meeting “our Union work, our administrative work, creativity of the dean’s hard work, and fiscal be accomplished number one.”
2. Hire permanent executive team
“Having a permanent executive team who is dedicated to the success of the college ongoing with longevity obviously is really important,” Kahn said. “We are three-quarters of the way to [step 2] number 2.”
3. Create and utilize integrated planning
“We have started this year and we will have a result this year, it’s not a perfect result,” Kahn said. “It was wonky, but we will be able to provide it to our Strategic Planning Council.”
4. COVID-19 recovery
COVID-19 recovery “has been discussed every day” according to Kahn, and its focus is to come up with a plan to bring students back to campus with the funding of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). This is a resource for funding colleges that focuses on health and safety.
5. Create multi-year projection which includes SCFF data
The Student Centered Funding Formula (SCFF) data will be discussed in more detail during next month’s meeting. However, Kahn said it is “most important to the students but also important to our revenue.”
6. FCMAT 2020 recommendations approved
“The district will be bringing back the FCMAT 2020 recommendations to the board in April,” Kahn said. He wants to ensure the recommendations are in the “vision” of the Palomar College Governing Board.
“We’ll be moving those recommendations forward, we made a lot of progress this year and we still have a lot of recommendations to work through,” Kahn added.
All information on FCMAT is in this link.
7. Use FCMAT 2020 recommendations to accomplish goals
Kahn repeated what he said with step six: to accomplish the goals within FCMAT 2020 is to put them in the vision of the Board.
8. Create structured intersegmental partnerships
“I use the term intersegmental because that is the term that guided pathways people love,” Kahn said. “What that means is that we have sorely needed structured relationships, where we meet with our community members regularly with action items that will drive positive things for the College.”
Kahn stated that they have started a post-secondary Advisory Council and have revitalized their Native American Advisory Council. It is all about developing strong relationships with the advisory councils around Palomar College.
9. Align revenue and expenditures
“We have to align revenue and expenditures, and what that means is very simply, we have to earn more than we spend,” said Kahn.
He said that they have several different facilities projects that could bring in revenue to Palomar. He then explained some of the ways the school can do so.
“We’re going to need to continue to do partnerships, we just added San Diego State to Rancho Bernardo,” he said. “We’ve got several partnerships that started pre-COVID that are both good for students and also good for revenue.”
Kahn went into detail about how to reorganize an equity-guided pathways completion.
“I mentioned to some of our colleagues and the Senate and our Union colleagues that we need to have some strong conversations about how the instructional program is designed,” he said.
“I’m hoping over the summer, to be able to meet with our good colleagues and really critically think and really just look at what is the revenue generation right now in the way that instruction is designed,” he added.
Kahn said that the student services project starting up in the fall will be both a huge support for students and significant part of gaining revenue.
10. Basic Aid for Palomar College (2027)
Kahn explains in step 10 why he chose the year 2027 for Basic Aid and why it is important.
“This is also just a projection. I believe that by that time our tax revenues in the country will be proportionally in the right space that we would be able to apply for Basic Aid,” he said.
“It was also one of our FCMAT recommendations that we start preparing for the opportunity Basic Aid would give us more revenue as well,” he added. “Now that doesn’t mean that we then are negligent or that we do other things.”
Then Kahn gave a collaborative overview of doing all 10 steps.
“I believe very strongly if we work on these 10 things over the next few years collaboratively, creatively make some good changes, good reductions, good additions, we’ll be setting Palomar College up for a much more successful and stable fiscal picture.”