California Budget Education

Budget Talks Collapse Causing Terrible Cuts to Community Colleges

The California budget situation is anything but easy.
Yet, at least we finally have a clear-eyed governor who is taking hold of the problem in a tough, even handed manner.

Still many of those in the legislature—specifically the Republican leadership— insist on playing party politics, rather than coming together to do what is best for the state in these dire times.

Brown has warned that without the additional taxes he hopes to get on the ballot (and hopes that California voters will pass into law), the already draconian cuts he has proposed will go far deeper than most Californians have really grasped.

On Wednesday, we saw a preview of the future that Brown is describing with the news that, in addition to the drastic fiscal surgery already in Brown’s budget, a startling $800 million more must be slashed out of the state’s community college system.

The LA Times’ Carla Rivera has some of the specifics:

Facing a state funding cut of up to 10%, California’s community colleges will enroll 400,000 fewer students next fall and slash thousands of classes to contend with budget shortfalls that threaten to reshape their mission, officials said Wednesday.

The dire prognosis was in response to the breakdown in budget talks in Sacramento and the likelihood that the state’s 112 community colleges will be asked to absorb an $800-million funding reduction for the coming school year — double the amount suggested in Gov. Jerry Brown’s current budget proposal.

As it now stands, the budget plan would raise community college student fees from $26 to $36 per unit. The fees may go even higher if a budget compromise is not reached.

During a telephone news briefing, California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott said the funding cuts, under either scenario, would be a tragedy for students and a deep blow to the state’s economy….

MEANWHILE….. the San Francisco Chronicle reports that, even without Brown’s budget cuts—or the bigger, badder cuts that no additional taxes could bring—a new study found that nearly half of the state’s community college students reported being unable to enroll in courses because classes were full — nearly twice the rate of community college students nationwide.

Additional details are here.

If the class situation is that bad now, how in the world can the system function with the new cuts coming its way?

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