The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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College Announces Layoffs


With the college facing a $5.5 million budget deficit, Bucks President Stephanie Shanblatt on March 5 sent a memo to faculty and staff announcing that while tuition will remain flat for the upcoming year, some employees would be laid off.

“This past year has been anything but ordinary,” she said. “While we’ve overcome many obstacles and adjusted our way of working, teaching and learning, our enrollment pictures remains uncertain. I am committed to leaving to leaving this the institution in the most stable financial condition possible.”

Shanblatt previously announced her upcoming retirement for this June, and now faces the problem of getting the college on the best track possible before she leaves.

Shanblatt pointed out that along with staff layoffs, there will be reorganizations in Enrollment Services, Public Safety, Community Education, ITS, and Marketing. Some changes will involve staff absorbing new tasks so vacant positions do not have to filled, and others will be internal transfers.

Individuals being laid off have been furloughed for nearly a year now, with no return in sight.

At press time, the Centurion could not confirm exactly how many Bucks staffers would be laid off.

“There will be six full-time staff layoffs and some allocating in the Continuing Education division, Information Technology Services and Marketing. A few PT-Under 20 staff will also be laid off,” said Shanblatt.

Collectively, these changes will save the college almost $2 million annually in salaries and benefits. It will include the un-budgeting of the vacant positions of Vice President of Strategic Enrollment, and their administrative assistant, Chief Marketing Officer, and several retiring staff.

Also, one vacant position, the Associate Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, will be filled to provide leadership for the Continuing Education Division.

“We have saved an additional $1.5 million by trimming the non-salary budget,” she said.

The remaining gap will be filled with one-time funds in the hope that by the 2022-23 budget year, enrollment will begin to recover. As for the 2021-22 budget year, tuition will be held flat.

“Over the years as enrollment has slowly declined, we have reduced full-time faculty ranks through retirement and not replacing those vacant positions. However, we have not done that with staff positions,” she said.

Shanblatt went on to say that these decisions were extremely difficult, but with a severe 15 percent decline in enrollment in one semester, she needed to make hard decisions.

“The reorganization decisions will provide stability to areas with retiring or vacant leadership positions as we begin to transition to a new president.”

Shanblatt concluded the letter by saying all impacted individuals have been notified, and wishes them well.

“There will be no further changes or layoffs under my new leadership. I thank the Board of Trustees and for your support as we work through these challenges together and for you efforts on behalf of our students,” she concluded.

Jean Dolan, Assistant Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Creative Services, is one of the employees who was laid off after having been furloughed. Dolan had been in her job since 2001 and her 20-year anniversary was coming this April.

Dolan, in an interview done before learning she would be laid off, said, “I had not filed for unemployment – and had not been out of work — since summer of 1991, nearly 30 years ago. So, you can imagine the emotional toll this has taken.”