Blackhawk Technical College cutting 11 positions

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Frank Schultz
Monday, March 17, 2014

TOWN OF ROCK—Blackhawk Technical College is eliminating 11 positions and plans other cuts in order to balance its 2014-15 budget, an official said Monday.

Brian Gohlke, vice president for human relations, said he could not reveal which positions are being cut before each person is notified in person, and that could take until the end of this week.

No program or course of study is being eliminated, Gohlke said.

Eight of the positions are held by members of the faculty union, Gohlke said.

As of last May, the union represented 109 instructors, counselors, program advisers and instructional specialists.

Gohlke said the administration plans on cutting other parts of the budget, but he could not elaborate because he was on the road and did not have documents in front of him Monday.

Likewise, Gohkle could not say how much money officials were hoping to save in the coming year's budget.

Other top BTC officials who might know more were not in their offices Monday.

Gohlke said the cuts are “not specifically” related to a decision in December to postpone a referendum that would have asked voters for permission to increase the technical college district's tax levy for operational expenses.

“It's part of budget reductions we need to do in planning for what our expenses will be for the 2014-15 fiscal year,” Gohlke said.

BTC officials in December decided to postpone an April 2014 referendum that would have asked voters to approve increasing the tax levy by up to $4 million a year.

The decision to delay the referendum came after a survey showed 43 percent would vote against it. The survey also showed a need to educate the public about the district's budget constraints, officials said.

BTC President Tom Eckert in December suggested to The Gazette that the college do some “belt tightening” to get by until the November election, when “we think our best chances for success are."

Eckert has pointed to a freezing of tech college levies imposed in 2011 as the source of budget problems.

The college had kept its levies lower than it could have, and the freeze kept the levy at that lower level, Eckert said.

At the same time, state aid to technical colleges shrunk 30 percent.

This year's operational budget is $31.62 million, and that includes $2.17 million from district reserves.

Blackhawk Tech serves most of Rock and Green counties.

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