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|Durham Tech to Run Four-Day Summer Schedule|
|February 25 , 2009
For immediate use
Press Note: Due to the many media calls and unusual level of interest in this topic, the college is providing written comments about the decision to run a four-day summer schedule.
Durham Technical Community College has announced its decision to run a four-day summer schedule as a cost-cutting measure – one that will help stretch limited dollars this budget year and start next year with some savings in what is likely to be another challenging year.
From May 11 through August 6, the college will run day and evening classes on Mondays through Thursdays, with service areas open to the public from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on those days. The four-day, 40-hour a week summer schedule will not affect Friday and weekend instructional activities that do not rely on college facilities, such as clinical instruction in local hospitals.
In January, Durham County requested a reversion of approximately $140,000 from Durham Tech’s 2008-2009 allocation to help cover a projected deficit in the county’s current operating budget. Earlier this month, Durham County leaders informed Durham Tech’s president that the college’s allocation for the 2009-2010 fiscal year will be reduced from the current year to help protect the county’s long-term financial stability. The college uses funds from Durham County to operate and maintain its Main Campus and Northern Durham Center and to provide safety and security to the college’s Durham County facilities. State budget reversions this year and anticipated decreases in next year’s state budget to community colleges are also concerns.
In gathering information about past summers to make this decision, college administrators considered potential utilities and personnel costs savings as well as the possible impact on the college’s instructional offerings and services to current and prospective students. Savings in utilities costs alone have been estimated to be over $30,000. Additional savings will come from lower numbers of part-time faculty and staff contracts. Historically, the college offers few classes on Fridays so the move to a four-day summer schedule will result in the cancellation or rescheduling of fewer than 10 credit courses. Last summer the college closed at noon on Fridays.
“Our faculty and staff are working very hard to ensure the fewest numbers of students and prospective students are negatively impacted. We know, now more than ever, the residents of Durham and Orange counties need our educational offerings and training to prepare for tomorrow’s jobs,” said Durham Tech President Bill Ingram.
Durham Tech administrators also consulted with students while considering the four-day summer schedule. When students were made aware of the financial constraints facing the college, most recognized that the college was taking necessary measures at a time when the fewest students are enrolled for credit classes. "I have been in contact with many students on campus about this issue. While many are concerned with having fewer services available, such as the library and computer labs, they are understanding that it is unavoidable due to the economic downturn,” said Christine Wright, Durham Tech’s Student Senate President and Special Populations Chair of the NC Community College Student Government Association. “We are all having to adjust."
Shortening the summer schedule will mean a budget savings for the college in the 2008-2009 fiscal year ending June 30 and also in the 2009-2010 fiscal year beginning July 1. “With this change, we will help two years of budgets for the college. And, although we realize our employees may experience some hardships changing their schedule to work 10-hour days, they will also see some personal savings by traveling to work only four days a week instead of five,” said Dr. Ingram, who expressed his appreciation to Durham Tech employees for their flexibility and understanding of the college’s need to take such measures to cut costs.
“This is also an environmentally responsible decision,” said Dr. Ingram, who signed the President's Climate Commitment on Earth Day in April 2008, officially committing the college to more “green” practices. “By working a four-day week, our employees will be reducing by 20 percent the carbon monoxide we are putting into the environment during the summer when ozone levels are an even bigger concern.”
Summer classes at Durham Tech and across the state and nation typically have lower enrollments than the fall and spring semesters. “Students, whether they are in community colleges or in universities, often take the summer off from their studies to work and save money for continuing their education, to care for children out for summer break or spend time with family, or to take a bit of a break before the new academic year begins,” said Ingram. “Implementing a four-day summer schedule is intended to minimize disruptions to programs and services while reducing the college’s operating expenses during this time of unprecedented economic distress.”
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