Tuesday, February 21, 2012

California Community Colleges Hit by February Surprise of Unexpected Additional $149 Million Budget Cut

"Additional cut brings total 2011-12 reductions to $564 million; relief would maintain access

"Already reeling from $313 million in cuts in the 2011-12 enacted budget and $102 million in "triggered cuts" in January, California's 112 community colleges learned late Thursday that they will likely face an additional $149 million cut in the current fiscal year. The latest cuts amount to an additional reduction of $135 per student and threatens more class cuts.

"Before the latest cuts, community college were operating with $996 million (23%) is less funding since 2008-09, and have reduced enrollment by nearly 284,000 students at a time when demographically they should have significantly increased enrollment. Even with the reduced enrollment, funding per student has dropped by $554, or 9.3%.

""It is unconscionable that the state continues to foreclose on educational opportunity at this time of record demand and high unemployment," said Scott Lay, President and CEO of the Community College League of California. "These latest cuts threaten the elimination of even more classes and more faculty and staff layoffs."

"The surprise cut came when districts were provided the first state community college financial update of the year, which showed that revenue from state-determined student enrollment fees were $106 million below projections, and that property tax revenues included in the budget lagged state estimates. This resulted in insufficient resources for the state to meet its promised per-student funding and instead a determination that the funding should be deficited by 3.4%.

""We call on the Legislature to quickly pass legislation to address this unexpected cut," said Theresa Tena, the League’s Director of Fiscal Policy. "By fulfilling this funding commitment by June, we can ensure that students will have access to summer school classes in many parts of the state where access is threatened and avoid further layoffs."

""This latest development brings the one-year cut to California's three segments of public higher education to over $2.1 billion, and demonstrates why it is essential to support the governor's plan to ask taxpayers to support a balanced approach that gets our state's budget back on the right track," said Lay.

"The Community College League of California is a nonprofit association of California’s 72 community college districts, serving the districts in governmental relations, leadership development and district services."

[full release with district cut breakdown]

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