Today, Governor Schwarzenegger issued the anticipated revision to his January budget proposal. While the governor proposes additional deep cuts to many health and human service programs, there are few changes to the community college budget. This is a testament to the hard work the faculty and staff of our colleges have been doing to accommodate burgeoning student enrollment demand.
The League's Director of Fiscal Policy, Theresa Tena, and I will be reviewing the detailed documents as they become available and try to get our questions answered at a briefing with the Department of Finance at 4pm. From what has been released, aside from changes to general fund amounts in conjunction with changes in property tax and oil/mineral revenues, the community college budget remains largely unchanged. There is no proposed change to the $26/unit community college fee.
However, the proposal includes a huge victory for community colleges, as the governor has withdrawn his proposal to suspend the Competitive Cal Grants program and included the $45.5 million to fund new grants in the 2010-11 fiscal year.
Let me take a moment to thank League Regional Representatives Stacy Berger and Elaine Reodica who have worked particularly hard with local districts, students, and organizations on opposing the Competitive Cal Grant elimination.
There may be a further small reduction in cost-of-living adjustment, as it's included in the listing of K-12 budget changes to which our COLA normally is tied, but not specifically broken out for community colleges. The 2.21% enrollment growth is maintained, as are the disappointing cuts to EOPS ($5 million) and part-time faculty compensation ($5 million), which are proposed to fund a $10 million increase in career-technical education.
We will be posting technical updates that we get on the League's twitter stream at:
An updated budget chart will be posted by Monday at:
Budget-related questions can be e-mailed to email@example.com and will be answered as quickly and accurately as possible by League staff.
In his press conference, the governor said that he would not sign a budget that does not include "budget reform" and "pension reform." Asked by reporters for clarification, he indicated that budget reform could include both tax reform and the creation of a "rainy day" fund. On pension reform, he has called for repealing the augmentations to pension adopted in the 1999-2001 period.
The governor closes what he identifies as a $19.1 billion budget gap through:
- Budget cuts: $12.4 billion
- Federal funds: $3.4 billion
- Alternative funding/fees: $1.3 billion
- Fund shifts: $2.1 billion
While community colleges fared well in this proposal, the devastating cuts to our student success and operational categoricals included last year continue and many colleges will continue to make difficult reductions. Further, a proposed $1.2 billion elimination of child care services under Proposition 98 and the proposed elimination of CalWORKs will likely affect many community college student parents.
We are likely looking at a prolonged summer budget fight. Many of the solutions proposed by the governor will be very difficult for Democratic legislators to swallow, and the injection of budget and pension reform could complicate the closing of the budget gap. Nevertheless, we appreciate the governor's continued support to keeping the doors open at community colleges and we remain well positioned for this budget fight.
Thank you for keeping your focus on student access, equity and success.