EL RENO — Redlands Community College will end its dairy goat auxiliary enterprise as one of its first steps in dealing with the college's current financial crisis, Redlands acting President Jack Bryant announced Monday.
Redlands officials also chose not to renew contracts of four full-time employees and are reviewing part-time contracts to see which of those should be allowed to expire, he said.
Redlands administrators and regents are working to make cuts in the college's $10 million-a-year operating budget after a financial analysis requested by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education revealed Redlands had more than $1.1 million in unpaid obligations, including some bills more than six months past due.
Longtime Redlands President Larry Devane, 67, resigned June 24. Bryant was named acting president three days later.
Bryant said his top goal in considering cuts is to make sure they have as little impact on student learning as possible. Redlands officials have not targeted any academic programs or courses for elimination, he said.
“No classes are being canceled because of this financial situation,” he said.
Bryant said he sent out an email to Redlands students last week assuring them that their education would continue uninterrupted.
“We will still honor all scholarships that have been released,” he said.
As with all colleges and universities, a course offering could be dropped if there is low enrollment, he said, adding it is also possible some programs may have to be scaled back.
Redlands expects to save at least $200,000 to $250,000 by selling off its 42 dairy goats and discontinuing its dairy goat operations, which have not performed up to financial expectations, Bryant said.
“I will be selling off the herd,” he said. “We're basically killing that program.”
Closing the dairy will save the college about $1,000 a week on feed, he said.
Bryant said he plans to ask regents to declare the dairy equipment surplus so it can be sold.
“It will be a significant cost savings, but it won't be one that will have an impact on student learning,” he said.
Employee contracts that were not renewed included those of Clay Elliott, head livestock judging coach; Clinton Mefford, assistant livestock judging coach; Sheila Spangler, funds and grants accountant in the business office; and James Turner, dairy technician, officials said.
Bryant said he asked regents to keep his salary at the $87,552 a year he had been making as Redlands' vice president for workforce and economic development rather than increasing his pay for serving as acting president. Devane, who served 24 years as Redlands' president, had been making $162,132 a year.
“If I can't lead by leadership by example, then I'm not doing my part asking other people to make cuts,” he said.
Bryant said no time frame or procedure has been established for naming a permanent president, but he has told regents he would like to be considered for the position when the time comes.
Four vacant faculty positions and three vacant staff positions will not be filled, he said. Faculty and staff travel also will be reduced and the maximum time part-time employees can work will be lowered from 29 to 25 hours per week. Leases are being reviewed.
Redlands officials have begun meeting with creditors to try to work out payout arrangements on the college's debts, he said.
Redlands made its payroll for June and has begun paying its overdue bills, starting with the ones that were the most past due.
“We paid off almost all of those that were more than six months old,” he said. “We sent out more than 300 checks on Friday, but that's just a dent. We've got a lot to recover.”
Redlands' enrollment last spring was about 2,350 students.