By Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell Staff Writer
Posted: 01/14/2011 11:55:13 AM PST

Alondra Velazco lives in a mobile home park in Rialto, works at a Mexican restaurant to pay for school and relies on her brother and sister for rides to Cal State San Bernardino.

So learning this week that Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget is calling for more deep cuts to the California State University system was both disappointing and frustrating.

“It’s just unfair because I thought education came first for everyone,” she said. “I will probably have to work more hours or take a quarter off, and it will definitely take longer to graduate.”

Facing a projected $28billion budget deficit, the governor released his 2011-2012 state budget Monday that calls for a $500million reduction for the the CSU system, equal to an 18percent reduction.

The $2.2billion proposed for the CSU system is equivalent to 1999-2000 levels even though the university system currently serves nearly 70,000 more students, officials said.

It’s also a best-case scenario because it assumes an extension of temporary tax increases due to expire at the end of the fiscal year.

The governor wants to have a special election in June to ask voters to approve the extensions to provide about $10billion in state revenue. If the extensions fail to pass, the CSU system may face additional reductions.

Although the reductions have not yet been broken down, Cal State San Bernardino officials believe their cut will be between $18million and $20million.

The cut could lead to limiting enrollment and a restriction in the number of classes and services for students.

It’s cause for concern for Marina Mejia, now in her second year at Cal State San Bernardino.

To save money she already rides the bus to school and is unsure where else she can cut corners.

“Everything is about saving money for me, from e-mailing professors a week ahead of time to see if I need a textbook to taking the bus and bringing my lunch every day,” she said. “But I came here straight from high school and I’m determined to get my degree.”

California’s community colleges will also feel the pain.

The governor has proposed a $400million cut and a fee increase of $10 per unit from $26 to $36.

At San Bernardino Valley College and Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, the proposed reductions come on the heels of past cuts of about $3million to the San Bernardino Community College District, with an estimated $4million expected this time around.

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