EvCC Eliminates 85 Part-Time Hourly Positions

Economic Fallout From COVID-19 and the Possibility of Reducing the School’s 2020-21 Operating Budget by 15% May Lead to Additional Layoffs.

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Savanna Eickerman

The Gray Wolf Hall building on EvCC's campus.

On Friday Jun. 5, EvCC laid off approximately 85 part-time hourly positions. Office assistants, lab assistants and fitness center assistants are some of the positions that were eliminated. 

EvCC President Dr. Daria Willis sent out a message to the staff Friday Jun. 5 where she announced the news about layoffs. “Due to Governor Inslee’s State of Emergency declaration issued on February 29, 2020 and the ongoing fight to reduce the impacts of COVID-19, we have significantly reduced our on-campus operations. We expect these reduced operations to continue into the coming fiscal year. As a result of significantly decreased revenue and lack of work, we must reduce our staffing levels,” said Willis in the message. 

Supervisors notified each employee who was getting laid off on Friday, Jun. 5. The staffers who were laid off must have their last day of employment be on or before Jun. 30, though each employee’s last day varies depending on the needs of their department, explained EvCC Public Information Officer Katherine Schiffner. Final decisions on layoffs were made by President Willis. 

Katherine Schiffner, EvCC’s Director of Public Relations, photographed on campus in Nov. 2019. (Savanna Eickerman)

The college expects to save around half a million dollars from the decision. “Everett Community College has substantially reduced its on-campus operations due to COVID-19 and is facing additional cuts in state funding. We anticipate saving around $500,000 in 2020-21 in compensation and related expenses,” said Schiffner.  

Those employees impacted by the reduction in positions may be eligible for unemployment compensation. Schiffner added that the cost of unemployment benefits to the college have been calculated into these savings. 

It is unlikely that any of the employees who were laid off will be brought back once the school has recovered financially. “We anticipate a reduction in our funding from the state,” said Schiffner. “Additional cuts mean it won’t be possible to staff all of the positions we had during the 2019-2020 academic year.”

When asked if the school is expecting to make additional layoffs, Schiffner explained that it’s possible. “If the college receives less state funding for 2020-2021, EvCC’s current staffing would not be fully funded.” Schiffner went further by sharing that the college has not filled some vacant positions as recommended by the state Office of Financial Management and Gov. Jay Inslee. The school anticipates this will help in mitigating the amount of positions the school will have to reduce. 

Local colleges have also been asked by the state to show how they might reduce their 2020-2021 operating budget by 15%. “We hope that we do not have to implement a 15% reduction. However, we do not have a final 2020-21 state allocation figure yet, and we do not anticipate having that information until late June or early July,” said Willis in her message. 

EvCC has already implemented various actions to try and cut back on the college’s spending. According to Schiffner, the school has reduced funding for travel and supplies this year and will continue to do so next year. “At this point, we do not know yet if additional budget cuts will be needed. If EvCC’s state funding is reduced as expected, we would likely need to make more reductions,” said Schiffner.