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Olympic College issues pink slips, to close Bangor branch

Four Olympic College administrators and three classified employees will be on the chopping block, along with the closure of the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor office, as part of nearly $1.3 million in cuts announced by Olympic College last week.

More layoffs and reductions are expected next year.

The community college announced the cuts in an e-mail to students and employees Nov. 12, detailing the 6.3 percent reduction in state dollars the governor’s office requested in September. The school distributed an additional news release Monday.

“This is a very difficult time,” Olympic College President David Mitchell said in Monday’s news release. “Our students are seeing the effects, with longer wait times for services and crowded classes, and our employees are doing more with fewer resources.”

The layoffs spared faculty, but three classroom positions are currently unfilled.

The classes offered to active duty military students and their family members at Olympic College’s Bangor office will be offered at the Bremerton and Poulsbo campuses. The program support supervisor at that office will be moved to Bremerton.

The closure of the Bangor office follows a steady decline in enrollment in the Bangor classes. The decrease began when the Poulsbo campus opened in 2004, drawing students away from the base, said Wendy Miles, director of military and continuing education. Miles is one of the employees who will be laid off in the budget cutting proposal.

This quarter, five classes were scheduled in Bangor, but three were canceled and fewer than 15 students were enrolled in the remaining two classes, Vice President of Instruction Mary Garguile said.

Bangor used to offer 20 classes each quarter before Poulsbo’s opening, Miles said.

About 1,000 active duty military members enroll at Olympic College’s three campuses each year. The Bangor closure will save the school about $100,000.

Other cuts from Olympic College’s $30 million budget include the closure of the Readiness Response Institute, which provides training in firefighting and hazardous materials response. Additional reductions include trimming copying and printing, decreasing hours of operation and freezing out-of-state travel and most equipment purchases. The school also used $500,000 of its “savings reserve” to stave off additional cuts this year.

Before this quarter, the college had already cut $4 million and 31 positions through unfilled vacancies or layoffs since 2008. Meanwhile, the school has seen a 20 percent increase in student enrollment in the past two years.

With the state facing an estimated $4.5 billion budget shortfall in the 2011-2013 budget cycle, the college expects to issue additional pink slips next year and is planning for more cuts ranging between 4 and 10 percent. The school will know the extent of next year’s cuts after the Legislature adopts a budget in the next session, beginning in January.

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