September 29, 2023
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SBCC president cuts college’s deficit, looks to future


Anthony Beebe

Updated at 10:40 a.m. June 8:

Santa Barbara City College President Anthony Beebe spent his first year on the job closing a $9 million budget gap and now he is looking for ways to preserve its No. 1 national ranking.

In a state of the college talk to the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region on June 7, Beebe said the school has an enrollment target of around 17,000 students — roughly the enrollment size today.

He said the campus is in need of a comprehensive review of its buildings, facilities and infrastructure. The school hopes to use existing resources to pay for improvements but may consider a capital campaign if it is needed.

“We want the campus to look good,” he said.

Beebe arrived on the Central Coast a year ago from San Diego. Since that time he’s been finding ways to offset a rise in expenditures creating a $9 million deficit.

Beebe described five solutions that have brought the budget back into balance. These include an early retirement program for 72 faculty and staff members as well as one-time funding granted from the chancellor’s office. Third, the administration has mitigated previous inefficiencies and, fourth, addressed what Beebe reported as other “miscellaneous cost-cutting methods” for SBCC.

These first four strategies accounted for $5.4 million of the deficit. The remaining $3.6 million was covered by the college’s reserves, tapping a small portion of what he called the college’s “rainy day funds.” Beebe said that this sum came from a 5 percent portion of revenue that is regularly set aside for various uses.

Keeping a reserve size of 5 percent is normal procedure for institutions of SBCC’s size, he said. But with a $30 million reserve on a budget of about $100 million, SBCC is well capitalized, he said.

Areas of curriculum will be reevaluated in the coming months and the college will be monitoring which programs are most cost-effective and maintain steady enrollment.

“Huge menus of options for students are not good,” said Beebe. He would rather have the college “be good at a few things.”

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