Budget impasse will add to already imposing shortfalls
James Rufus Koren and Neil Nisperos, Staff Writers
Created: 03/30/2011 05:39:14 PM PDT
California State University campuses and local community colleges, already in line for budget cuts, are bracing for what leaders are calling unprecedented additional cuts, following a breakdown in negotiations over the state budget.
Leaders said Tuesday that negotiations between Gov. Jerry Brown and state Senate Republicans were over, meaning there won’t be a June special election asking voters to approve extensions of several tax increases. Without those tax increases, Cal State and community-college leaders say they are expecting drastic cuts, fewer students and possibly another increase in fees.
“The CSU (system) will be looking at about a $1.1 billion cut,” up from a $500 million cut, said Michael Ortiz, president of Cal Poly Pomona, which is part of the Cal State system. “That equates to probably $55 million for Cal Poly Pomona. It will be a significant challenge. Probably the worst we’ve ever faced.”
That’s about 44 percent of the school’s $124 million operating budget. Ortiz was basing that number on a report from the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Andy Bodman, Cal State San Bernardino’s provost, said he couldn’t speculate on how much more his campus might have to cut but said he imagines an additional cut could come with another increase in fees and a reduction in the number of students the Cal State system can serve.
“I assume two things will happen: There will probably be a request to the trustees to raise fees again, and I would expect we would see an enrollment target that will be substantially smaller,” he said, noting that Cal State fees are already set to increase by 10 percent next year.
Officials with the state community-college system, the largest system of higher education in the country, say they are expecting an $800 million cut – doubling the cut community colleges were already expecting.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott expects a cut that size – amounting to 10 percent of the system’s overall budget – will deny access to about 400,000 students.
Scott and leaders from several community colleges said Wednesday that the new cuts would result in class, program and staff reductions. A cut of $800 million would also severely decrease the availability of summer and fall classes.
Bruce Baron, the interim chancellor of the two-campus San Bernardino Community College District, said the budget situation is “devastating.”
“It’s really going to destroy the idea of access to educational services in our community,” he said. “We anticipate about $6 million worth of cuts, or about 10 percent of the budget, and that’s going to translate to a reduction in services to full-time students.”
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