Volume 45 Number 4
Summer classes cut or cancelled
California’s community colleges appear to have dodged a bullet under the governor’s proposed May Budget Revise, but the news may not mean much to students who can’t get into summer school classes due to course cancellations.
Summer programs have been cut entirely at many of the state’s community colleges, while students face long waiting lists for summer classes at colleges where they are being offered. According to a survey conducted by the Chancellor’s Office, 63 percent of community colleges planned to cut their course offerings by at least half this summer. This is on top of a 22.8 percent decrease in summer classes between 2008 and 2009.
Strain on system
Chancellor Jack Scott’s office reported recently that California’s largest class of graduating high school seniors, the state’s high unemployment, displaced students from the UC and CSU system and returning veterans are putting a strain on the system at a time when courses sections are being eliminated. Last year, in 2009-10, the system sustained an 8 percent cut that translated into more than 200,000 unfunded students attending community colleges.
Still, the governor’s proposed May Budget Revise – which is based on the state’s financial situation after tax revenues have come in – is a bit more promising for higher education. Unlike K-12 education, where additional proposed cuts total $4 billion, there were few changes to the community college budget from January.
“The governor’s proposed 2 percent increase in funding for community colleges ought to ease the pain a bit, but we’ve all heard the budget forecast for the next year,” said CCA President Ron Norton Reel. “Our economy isn’t going to get better for awhile. Community colleges will be needed more than ever as job-seekers go back for more education and training.”
He added, “I certainly don’t want to see our community colleges turning away more than 140,000 students like they did last year.”
In addition, the governor not only withdrew an earlier proposal to cut the Competitive Cal Grants programs, he included $45.5 million to fund new grants in the upcoming year.
Although that’s good news, cuts of $5 million to programs like EOPS as well as $5 million to the part-time faculty compensation program remain in the latest budget proposal. A proposed $1.2 billion cut in child care services under Proposition 98 as well as the proposed elimination of the CalWorks program will also be detrimental to many community college students.
Much wrangling is expected before a budget emerges from the Legislature that the governor signs. In the meantime, CCA is joining the California Teachers Association to sign a pledge to reject any further budget cuts to public education and to uphold the budget agreement that would restore more than $11.2 billion to K-14 as the economy improves. CCA members can urge their own lawmakers to sign the pledge by clicking on http://promisetostudents.com, or by contacting their legislators using CTA’s Legislative hotline at 1-888-268-4334.