Volume 45 Number 2
Faculty leaders remain skeptical
Although the governor has taken pains to say he doesn’t anticipate further cuts to higher education, community college leaders – like their counterparts in the K-12 system, are concerned about continuing budget reductions.
“Of course we were pleased to hear that the governor is trying to protect higher education, but it must be understood that our higher education system has already endured significant cuts that are going to affect our current and future students,” said CCA President Ron Norton Reel. “And while he says that he is trying to ‘protect’ higher ed from cuts, this doesn’t mean there are no reductions.”
Although the governor’s proposed budget provides a $126 million to fund enrollment growth, it would also cut $10 million each from the Part-time Faculty Compensation and Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, and reduce the SB 76 Career-Technical Program by $28 million. The governor also proposes suspending of all mandates. CCA/CTA staff is analyzing this proposal to make sure that “suspending mandates” does not equate to suspending collective bargaining.
Reaction to budget
“The governor will have a real problem on his hands if that’s the case,” Reel said.
The governor continues to tinker with his 2010 budget, and is floating a variety of proposals as well. Most recently, he suggested that the state could save $1 billion by building and operating prisons in Mexico – and putting that money into the coffers of the CSU and UC higher education systems. Earlier, in his State of the State address, the governor appeared to promise that the state would no longer spend more on prisons than it does on higher education.
“That in itself was a relief to hear, since we as educators, have always maintained that access to quality education will greatly reduce our prison population,” Reel said.
The independent Legislative Analyst’s Office, however, was critical of the proposal and has urged the Legislature to reject it because it would constrain the state’s ability to allocate funding where it is most needed each year.
Students plan protests
Community college faculty and students, along with students and faculty from the California State University and the University of California have participated in numerous actions this past fall over budget cuts that have already taken place. Students at Southwestern College protested upcoming class cancellations while Solano College students staged a mock funeral in November to say farewell to student empowerment programs, affordable textbooks, CalWorks services and numerous classes that had been eliminated.
Some colleges, like Imperial Valley College, have proposed closing three off-campus sites while others, like College of the Canyons have reduced as many as 500 course sections and have turned away thousands of students.
Many students plan to hold campus activities on March 4 and to join a protest in Sacramento on March 22. The Student Senate for California Community Colleges and the California State Student Association are spearheading the protest at the state capitol.
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