Welcome to the League's Budget & Policy Center

The Latest News


February 28, 2017
The Budget Trailer Bill Language is the implementing language of the California State Budget Bill. The 2017 Budget Trailer Bill was released on February 1.  This year, the Trailer Bill includes policy implementation details and requirements for the Guided Pathways, the California Community Colleges Awards for Innovation, and technical cleanup to the Adult Education Block Grant.

Read the League's summary and analysis of the 2017 Budget Trailer Bill Language here.

January 19, 2017

The 2017-18 budget again departs from the statutory Proposition 98 split of 10.93 percent and proposes a split of 10.87 percent for California Community Colleges.  If approved, community colleges - which currently have the lowest per-student rate in California, will received about $44 million fewer resources - further widening the gap in per-student funding.

The League is highlighting this sensitive observation not to argue that K–12 education has been overfunded. Our key point is that modest increases in funding to education should not come at the expense of the state’s community colleges. A copy of our full analysis, Why the Split Matters to Colleges, is available below.

January 10, 2017

Today, Governor Brown released his 2017-18 state budget proposal – a budget urging focus and restraint.  In recognition of the potential to enhance advising, curricular alignment, and meaningful and timely assessment the Governor dedicates substantial resources to Guided Pathways.

Governor Brown's investment in Guided Pathways is an important and necessary catalyst for a systemic and integrated redesign of the student experience at California's community colleges. Guided Pathways resources will enhance and deepen the impact of SSSP and Equity programs and services for our public community colleges and the League applauds the Governor for this investment.

Economic Context:
The January budget proposal reflects initial signs of an economic slowdown coupled with uncertainty about federally-funded programs. Governor Brown’s budget reflects concern with appropriating one-time funds for ongoing purposes, and emphasizes that the current spending trajectory will lead to a state budget deficit.

Proposition 98 and Community Colleges:
California’s economic flattening has resulted in adjustments to Proposition 98, reducing the guarantee by $900 million for the combined 2015-16 and 2016-17 budget years. The total Proposition 98 K-14 guarantee for 2017-18 is $73.5 billion.

For community colleges, the Governor’s 2017-18 proposal provides over $400 million in Proposition 98 resources – of which approximately $220 million are in one-time funds.  The clear message intended for colleges is that these one-time resources present an opportunity for strategic improvement in curriculum development, planning, and other measures to strengthen program outcomes.

The Governor’s budget summary is available here. Below is a chart illustrating the major augmentations in the proposed budget for community colleges:

Item                                2016-17 Enacted Augmentations 2017-18 System Budget Request 2017-18 Governor's January Proposal
Ongoing Funds
Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) 0% 1% $94.1 M (1.48%)
Enrollment Growth 2% 2% $79.3 M (1.34%)
Base Augmentation $75 M $200 M $23.6 M
Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) No Augmentation No Augmentation No Augmentation
SSSP - Equity No Augmentation No Augmentation No Augmentation
Workforce & CTE Pathways $248 M No Augmentation No Augmentation
Basic Skills $30M $25M No Augmentation
Full-Time Student Success Grants $2.2 M No Augmentation $3.1 M
COLA for EOPS, DSPS, Cal Works, Childcare Tax Bailout 0% 1% $5.4 M (1.48%)
Online Education Initiative No Augmentation $10 M $10 M
One-Time Funds
Guided Pathways     $150 M
Integrated Library Systems   $6 M $6 M
Deferred Maintenance & Instructional Equipment   $184.5M $43.7 M
Prop 39 Clean Energy Job Creation Fund      $52.3 M
Innovation Awards   $25M $20 M

Areas of Concern:
The League has identified some critical areas of concern within the 2017-18 budget proposal: a departure from the Proposition 98 statutory split, an inadequate investment in operating funds to maintain quality programs, capital outlay projects, and Cal Grants.

Proposition 98 Statutory Split – The 2017-18 budget departs from the statutory Proposition 98 split of 10.93 percent and proposes a split of 10.87 percent for California Community Colleges. The difference translates into about $43 million of revenue community colleges should receive. The decision to suspend the guaranteed split of Proposition 98 funds will further widen the gap in community college per-student spending in comparison to the state’s other two public postsecondary education sectors. The League will urge Governor Brown to continue its longstanding support for community colleges and provide the statutory split.

General Operating Resources – The 2017-18 budget proposes $23.6 million to fund general operating expenses. General operating funds ensure that our colleges can continue to offer a quality education. Base funds are essential to maintaining for faculty and staff talent, converting part-time professors to full-time faculty, paying for healthcare and pensions, and covering  other operating costs. Further investment in general operating funds will be a primary focus of League advocacy.

Bond and Capital Outlay – In 2016, California voters approved a facilities bond providing a $2 billion infrastructure investment in California’s community colleges. The proposed budget only funds five of 29 ready-to-go capital projects for total of $7.4 million of the $29.2 billion in facilities needs as identified in the Five-Year Capital Outlay Plan.

Cal Grants – The 2017-18 Budget proposes to phase-out the Middle Class Scholarship, a $74 million program. Further, the budget does nothing to reform Cal Grants to better serve community college students.  The budget continues to distribute less then 10% of Cal Grant resources to California community college students despite the fact that our students comprise two-thirds of the higher education population.  We are urging Governor Brown and members of the Legislature to ensure that saving from the Middle Class Scholarship program remain invested in financial aid.

We look forward to working with Governor Brown, members and staff of the Legislature, and representatives from the Department of Finance in the weeks ahead to discuss further the opportunities presented by the 2017-18 budget proposal.

In the next week the League will forward an email analysis from Lizette Navarette with more details on specific proposals.  You can also follow budget updates on the League’s Budget & Policy Center or attend the budget discussion at the 2017 Legislative Conference, January 29-30, 2017.

June 16, 2016

Yesterday, the Legislature approved a 2016-17 California State Budget of $122.5 billion.  While the Budget Conference Committee concluded its negotiations and approved a state spending plan on June 9, the full Legislature approved the final budget on the afternoon of June 15.  We are grateful that the 2016-17 budget agreement recognizes the indispensable role California Community Colleges play in developing the state’s workforce, closing achievement gaps, and providing educational access to all Californians.

Final Budget Agreement
The Legislature praised the $122.5 billion plan and claimed several victories, including increases to early education reimbursement rates, an increase in General Fund support to both the California State University and the University of California, and funds for the Homeless Assistance Program.  In addition, Governor Brown obtained his highest priority – putting an additional $2 billion above the statutory requirement – for a total augmentation of $3 billion, into the state’s Rainy-Day Fund.

The Legislature passed a balanced budget in time to meet the statutory deadline of June 15, however  funding details in areas such as housing will be finalized in the coming weeks.  The Legislature approved a total 2016-17 Proposition 98 package of $71.9 billion, up $2.8 billion from 2015-16.  The final agreement assumed the Governor’s local property tax estimates, a point of initial disagreement between the Administration and the Legislature.

Proposition 98
The final budget agreement increases the Proposition 98 Guarantee by a total of $626 million over the three-year period of 2014-15 to 2016-17, maintaining the Administration’s May Revision adjustments. The approved Proposition 98 guarantee funding levels are as follows:

  • 2014-15: $67.2 billion, funding increases by $463 million
  • 2015-16: $69.1 billion, funding decreases by $125 million
  • 2016-17: $71.9 billion, funding increases by $288 million

Community College 2016-17 Budget
For community colleges, the 2016-17 budget agreement provides just over $500 million in new ongoing Proposition 98 resources, and approximately $350 million in one-time funds. Below are a few highlights of the California Community College budget.  The final Budget Bill is Senate Bill 826 and the higher education Trailer Bill is Senate Bill 830.  A summary of Budget Trailer Bill items affecting community colleges is available here. The League's chart with the full community college budget agreement is available here.

We thank the many college leaders that throughout the budget process sent in letters, spoke with legislators, and supported our advocacy efforts for a budget that recognizes the important role and needs of community colleges and the students we serve.  Together, we made the case that educational quality and fiscal sustainability require a base augmentation for all 72 districts.

May 25, 2016

The Senate and Assembly subcommittees on education finance have completed their hearings and took action reflecting their response to the Governor’s May Revision.  Both houses recognized, along with Governor Brown, the significant role California Community Colleges have as the state's workforce engine.  The Senate and Assembly listened to and addressed some remaining concerns on an otherwise positive budget for community colleges.

In the next week, the Conference Committee, which comprises members of both houses, will begin negotiations with the Governor to form an agreement by June 15.  The League will continue its advocacy to ensure a final budget agreement includes a base augmentation that begins to address the substantial fiscal challenges that districts face due to escalating operational costs and to maintaining educational quality.  The League’s May Revision talking points are available here.

Below are highlights of the actions taken by the Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees. For the full list of actions, please click here.

Once the members of the Budget Conference Committee are announced, the League will share its updated budget position letter. As always, we thank you for your continued engagement in the budget process.

May 13, 2016
Governor Brown’s just-released  2016-17 May Revision represents a cautious and pragmatic budget proposal that maintains earlier commitments to education while exercising restraint in light of a slow-growth economy and an uncertain revenue future.

The League extends its gratitude to the Governor for recognizing the critical nexus between base augmentation funding and maintaining educational quality. The May Revision includes a base augmentation of $75 million, a clear recognition of the substantial fiscal challenges that districts face in coming years due to escalating operational costs, PERS and STRS increases, as well as the upcoming sunset of Proposition 30 revenues.     

With this May Revision, Governor Brown is sending a clear message to the Legislature about the critical importance of holding the line on new and ongoing spending obligations. (See Aesop's The Ant and the Grasshopper.)

Economic Context
The May Revision reflects a stagnant state economy. In the current fiscal year, total state revenues of $95.15 billion are off by $680.5 million, or 0.7 percent. The personal income tax and the sales tax are falling short by $1.16 billion and $217.6 million, respectively. Corporate tax revenue for the fiscal year to date is surpassing expectations by $476.3 million. The Governor advises extreme caution despite improved fiscal conditions by emphasizing that the state’s primary goal should be to substantially increase the Rainy Day Fund.

Proposition 98 and Community Colleges
With the release of new data from the US Department of Commerce, the statutory COLA previously proposed at 0.47% is now reduced to a disappointing 0%. The Proposition 98 guarantee is up slightly from $71.6 billion in January to a new total of $71.9 billion. This growth continues the availability of one-time dollars, which the Governor proposes to spend on enhancing the Online Education Initiative, deferred maintenance, equipment, and projects that reduce energy costs and usage. For community colleges, the Governor’s 2016-17 May Revision provides $490.2 million in new ongoing Proposition 98 resources, and approximately $380 million in one-time funds.

Notable Proposals in May Revision
The May Revision also reflects many policy priorities identified both by the Governor and Legislature. The proposal includes an increase of $2.3 million for the Equal Employment Opportunity Program and boosts Full-Time Student Success Grants by $2.2 million.

The Governor’s revised budget maintains the robust investment of $200 million in the Strong Workforce Initiative. This investment provides an exceptional opportunity to serve more Californians and support our colleges in offering programs that individuals seek when confronting unemployment or underemployment. The League will advocate for a regional approach that maintains and honors the Governor’s commitment to subsidiarity – the organizing principle that matters are best handled by the least centralized competent authority – the colleges themselves.

Though a much-needed investment in the Cal Grant Program is still absent from this budget, the League will continue to advocate for college affordability and financial aid that recognizes non-tuition costs as significant barriers to access, persistence and completion.

The League’s May Revision Summary chart illustrates the major components of the proposed budget for community colleges. The chart is available here.

By allocating crucial base augmentation dollars, the Governor's proposal acknowledges the quality and value community colleges provide to so many Californians and the imperative role we play in strengthening the economy, supporting democratic engagement, and sustaining our communities.  

In the coming week, your League will release an analysis with more details on specific proposals as well as a budget position letter. You can also follow budget updates on the League’s Budget & Policy Center or by contacting Lizette Navarette at lizette@ccleague.org.

April 13, 2016
Commitment to the California College Promise Continues
The League is pleased to share with you legislative news that advances the California College Promise and our goal of removing financial barriers to college. Yesterday, the Assembly Higher Education Committee passed our sponsored legislation to reform the Cal Grant program. Both bills - AB 1721 (Medina) and AB 1892 (Medina) - would increase financial aid resources for our students, allowing them to complete college and contribute to the success of the state’s economy.

This effort is not yet over. Now it is time to make our case to the Assembly Appropriations Committee to invest in California’s future by reducing time to degree and increasing tax revenue. We simply cannot do this without your help! Therefore, we encourage you to download the following draft letters of support and fax them to the committee, the Department of Finance, and your legislator (and please also e-mail a copy to the League at ryan@ccleague.org).

Let’s continue our advocacy to support student success and affordability. Community college students comprise two-thirds of the state’s undergraduates, yet only receive six percent of Cal Grant funding. Attending a community college should not be more expensive for financially disadvantaged students than studying at a CSU or UC institution. The time has come to invest equitably in the Cal Grant program.

AB 1721 (Medina) would raise Cal Grant aid for our students by:

  • Increasing the Cal Grant B Access award to $3,000.
  • Increasing the number of competitive Cal Grants to 30,000.
  • Improving the qualification process for non-traditional students accessing the Cal Grant transfer entitlement program.

Similarly, AB 1892 (Medina) makes targeted Cal Grant reforms to help community college students in a career technical education (CTE) program complete their degrees. It would:

  • Increase the Cal Grant C Access Award for community college students to $3,000.
  • Create an entitlement program for Cal Grant C, similar to Cal Grant B.

We would like to thank everyone for their advocacy efforts, and especially the districts listed below who sent in letters of support to the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Our commitment to the California College Promise will only be successful if districts demonstrate support for the system priority of increasing financial aid and reforming Cal Grants.
Chabot-Las Positas Community College District
Foothill-De Anza Community College District
Kern Community College District
Los Angeles Community College District
Los Rios Community College District
Peralta Community College District
San Diego Community College District
Santa Barbara Community College District
Santa Monica Community College District
South Orange Community College District
Ventura Community College District Board of Trustees

If you have any questions about supporting AB 1721 (Medina) and AB 1892 (Medina), please contact Ryan McElhinney, Legislative Advocate, at ryan@ccleague.org.

March 23, 2016

Letter to Senator Leno and Assemblymember Ting sharing the League’s position on the proposed 2016-17 California community college budget. | Read Letter

March 17, 2016

College affordability is a necessary condition of student success. Thus, the League is pleased to announce our sponsorship of AB 1721 (Medina) and AB 1892 (Medina), legislation that will reform Cal Grants to better serve community college students.  Currently, our students receive less then 10 percent of the resources distributed by the program, making it more expensive for students with significant financial need to attend  a community college than a UC or CSU.  This disinvestment forces our students to take fewer classes, work more, and ultimately obstructs their opportunity to be academically successful.

To help address this inequity, Assemblymember Medina has introduced legislation that will reform the Cal Grant B and C programs.  This legislation is part of the California Promise, a series of initiatives intended to increase access and affordability for community college students.  The legislation would increase the award levels available to our students and make it easier for non-traditional students to qualify for these awards.

AB 1721 and AB 1892 represent major steps toward college access and affordability for Californians.  We respectfully request your help in moving this affordability agenda forward.  Below you will find an Advocacy Toolkit and links to the following documents:

Please join our efforts to convince key decision makers that this is a state priority.  We encourage your boards to become involved by passing a resolution in support and faxing the attached position letters to the Assembly Higher Education committee at (916) 319-3961 by April 4th.  Once your district has passed a resolution and/or sent in a letter, please send copies to Ryan McElhinney at ryan@ccleague.org.

Your District’s support is imperative for addressing this inequity, and for assisting underserved students to achieve their dreams and educational goals.  To learn more about initiatives supporting the California Promise, please click here.  If you have any questions about AB 1721 (Medina), AB 1892 (Medina), or the California Promise, please do not hesitate to contact myself or our Government Relations Office at (916) 245-5039.

February 25, 2016

The Budget Trailer Bill Language is the implementing statute needed to effectuate the proposals in the annual Budget Bill. The Governor’s proposed 2016 Budget Trailer Bill was released on February 2. Read summary here.

January 7, 2016

Governor Brown released his 2016-17 state budget proposal - one that embraces and builds upon California Community Colleges’ efforts to create a strong California workforce through responsive educational programs.

The Governor's budget proposal has five major themes: maintaining fiscal balance; continued investment in education; repairing the state’s infrastructure; counteracting the effects of poverty; and confronting climate change.

Economic Context:
The January budget proposal reflects continued improvement in the state's economy with recognition and concern with appropriating one-time funds for ongoing purposes. Although the unemployment rate has fallen below 6 percent for the first time since 2007, the Governor advises extreme caution despite improved fiscal conditions. The current economic recovery has reached a 7-year mark; most recoveries only last five years before a downturn.  As a result, Governor Brown emphasizes that the state’s primary goal should be to fully-fund the Rainy Day Fund.

Proposition 98 and Community Colleges:
A recovering economy has increased the Proposition 98 guarantee by $800 million in 2015-16 (current year) and by $2.4 billion in 2016-17, for a total Proposition 98 K-14 guarantee of $71.6 billion.  This growth offers colleges continued availability of one-time dollars, which the Governor proposes to spend on deferred maintenance, equipment, and projects that reduce utility costs and usage.

For community colleges, the Governor’s 2016-17 proposal provides over $400 million in new ongoing Proposition 98 resources, and approximately $380 million in one-time funds. One-time resources present an opportunity for strategic investments in curriculum development, technological infrastructure, acceleration of new or ongoing initiatives, and other measures to strengthen programs and support student success.

The Governor’s budget summary is available here. Below is a link to a chart by Lizette Navarette with the League’s Government Relations Office illustrating the major components of the proposed budget for community colleges: click here to view chart.

While few major policy changes were presented in the January budget proposal, workforce and basic skills reforms appear as high priorities – both consistent with legislative intentions. Although augmentations are not provided for Student Success and base funding per student, one message is clear, Governor Brown wants to see the programmatic reforms of the past few years implemented and embedded.

Overall, the Governor presents a pragmatic budget proposal that upholds the commitments to education while exercising restraint in light of an uncertain revenue future as the sales tax portion of Proposition 30 expires in December of this year. Such fiscal prudence will need to be practiced by community colleges as well to address STRS and PERS contribution costs estimated to increase by approximately $400 million annually by 2021. Though a needed investment in financial aid - particularly in the CalGrant Program - is absent from this budget, the Governor's proposal recognizes the indispensable role California's Community Colleges play in workforce development, higher education attainment for our citizens, and educational opportunity for all Californians.

November 23, 2015

On November 18, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) released the annual publication, California’s Fiscal Outlook. The release of this report serves as a prelude to the annual budget deliberation process that begins every January with the release of the Governor’s January Budget Proposal.  The Community College League of California’s full analysis and perspective on this report is available here. 

A key point to share includes the availability of significant one-time resources, estimated at about $253 million in 2016-17, which provides an opportunity to think strategically about programmatic needs both in technology infrastructure and in curriculum and resources development. Colleges can view the prospect of one-time funds as start-up monies for programmatic improvements that can lead to student success. The system is poised to utilize one-time funds on new efforts such as the implementation of the Strong Workforce Task Force recommendations. 

The report reminds us that colleges will need to continue to focus on long-term cost pressures. The League’s primary analysis is to be cautious of the state’s heavy reliance on personal income tax, especially since much of the growth comes from Bay Area technology industries.  Based on the forecasted economic conditions and long-term cost pressures, the League advises districts to exercise optimistic restraint.  

As you review the report, we remind you that the LAO revenue estimates are generally higher than those identified by the Governor and Department of Finance, and even those adopted in the Budget Act. The Fiscal Outlook serves as a preview of the upcoming budget discussions. To read the full California’s Fiscal Outlook report, please click here. If you have questions, please contact Legislative Advocate, Lizette Navarette at lizette@ccleague.org.

Click here to view the League Fiscal Outlook Analysis

September 11, 2015

After months of advocacy, your strong voice has been heard!

Yesterday, the Legislature unanimously passed Assembly Bill 288 (Holden), the College & Career Access Pathways (CCAP) Act. AB 288 is the vehicle for long overdue reforms to California’s dual/concurrent enrollment laws. This has been a high priority for our system, the League, and the Board of Governors.

Thank you for your letters, feedback, and support. Together, we have demonstrated that dual/concurrent enrollment is critical to ensuring that all students have early access to college and career opportunities.  Now, let's make sure that AB 288 is signed by Governor Brown!

Here's how you can continue to make a difference:

  • Submit a letter requesting Governor Brown’s signature.
  • Encourage your school districts’ superintendents and boards, chambers of commerce, parent groups, or other community based organizations to submit a letter.
  • Learn more about concurrent enrollment at the League’s Annual Convention, November 19-21, 2015.
  • Submit articles about your dual/concurrent enrollment programs to your local newspaper or college’s newsletter.

Click on the following links for: sample request for signature letter, fact sheet, and the CCAP flyer.

We encourage you and your partner organizations to send letters to Governor Brown by September 21, 2015. For more information about submitting a letter, please contact our Legislative Advocate Lizette Navarette (lizette@ccleague.org).

Thank you again for your engagement in our advocacy effort to pass the CCAP Act!

August 31, 2015

Last week, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees held their final hearings to determine which bills would move to their respective floors for final passage. League Legislative Advocates, Lizette Navarette and Ryan McElhinney, successfully engaged members on the needs of college districts, leading to actions that will benefit your college and students.

Your letters and advocacy to your local representatives and continued support for our positions were essential in ensuring that district needs were foremost in the minds of legislators.  

Following are two important bills that were approved or held (remained) in committee consistent with the League’s position.

  • AB 288 (Holden), the College and Career Access Pathways Act that is co-sponsored by the League, was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. This committee presented the greatest hurdle for five previous efforts to expand concurrent enrollment. AB 288 gained the support of 73 education and workforce organizations. The bill will be on the Senate floor for a final vote this week, and then hopefully move to the Governor's desk for his signature.
  • AB 1010 (Medina), which would have mandated seniority rights for part-time faculty members, was held in Senate Appropriations. The League opposed this legislation in order to maintain the ability of districts and unions to grant these rights through local collective bargaining; 32 districts have already done so.  Defeat of this bill allows the remaining 40 districts to retain local control in bargaining. The League was uniquely positioned on AB 1010 to advocate for districts’ interests because of its wide representation of all colleges.

For a full list of bills followed by League staff, plus a brief summary and the League’s position on each, go here.

Also, continue to check this page – we will be continually updating these pages to provide districts with the latest information on both budget and legislative topics.

July 14, 2015

The Community College League of California is sponsoring AB 288 (Holden), the College & Career Access Pathways Act (CCAP Act), legislation to reduce statutory restrictions that limit the development of dual/concurrent enrollment partnerships, and promote concurrent enrollment partnerships that target a broader range of high school students. While AB 288 has received unanimous support to date, the bill did take several amendments in the Senate Education Committee. Below please find a link to the summary of the bill as amended July 13, 2015.

As the bill approaches the Senate Appropriations Committee, the League and the Chancellor's Office will make the case that dual enrollment provides cost savings to students, families and the state. If you have questions, or to submit a letter of support, please contact Legislative Advocate Lizette Navarette (lizette@ccleague.org). Let's pass AB 288 and provide more students with early exposure and access to  college education!  AB 288 Summary here

June 19, 2015

Sacred Cows

Follow this link to view a presentation related to budget and policy items that will require increased advocacy in order to change for the better.

Budget Table

The budget has been released! To view a table summarizing the current budget as well as how it differs from the Governor's original budget and May Revision, click here.

July 7, 2015 – Equity Policy Paper (Updated)

Please follow this link to review League Staff's policy paper concerning student equity. 

June 3, 2015 – Letter to 2015 Budget Conference Committee

The 2015 Budget Conference Committee is meeting this week to review and negotiate differences between the Governor’s May revise and proposed budget amendments by the Assembly and Senate.  As this process unfolds, the Community College League of California is advocating for key augmentations to the budget.  Please follow this link for a copy of our letter to the Budget Conference Committee. 

2015-16 CCC Proposed Budget Comparison

Following is the latest information on the community college budget, including a comparison of the Governor’s proposed May Revision with the Assembly and Senate versions. This is the template for discussions in the upcoming conference committee. 

For a PDF version, click here

For more information or for budget position letter templates, please email lizette@ccleague.org

May 14, 2015 – May Revise

At 10 a.m. today, Governor Brown released his May Revision to the January budget, with increased emphasis on the three pillars of education by investing in access, success, and equity while recognizing our colleges’ growing operational costs.  

As the Governor states, “Health and education, that’s the focus.”

The May Revision provides $619 million in new Proposition 98 allocations to community colleges.  It reflects a strong immediate economic outlook with the recent surge of $6.7 billion in state revenues derived primarily from high wage earners and capital gains.  

In spite of these increases, community colleges are still regaining ground lost during the recession.  As the Public Policy Institute of California has noted, “Between 2007–08 and 2011–12, the community colleges faced cuts totaling almost $1.5 billion, far larger than in any other period.”  Colleges have lost 18 percent of their purchasing power since 2008 while operating costs have risen faster than state budget appropriations and local property taxes.  We must be prepared for the almost doubling of employer contributions for CalPERS/CalSTRS by 2021 (estimated to cost almost $400 million) and the lack of capital outlay support.  For a link to the mandated increase in CalSTRS contributions, click here.

Despite the surge in revenues, the Governor remains fiscally prudent and is quick to point out that the budget outlook in future years is far from optimistic. For instance, 2015-16 budget year will be the last full year of revenues from Proposition 30, with the sales tax portion expiring at the end of 2016.  

In conversations I have had these past months, trustees and chancellors/presidents statewide are cognizant of the fiscal challenges ahead and agree on the need for flexibility to address operational costs. 

Please keep in mind that the May Revision is the Governor’s proposal, and the Legislature is still tasked to present their version of an approved budget to the Governor by June 15th.  

The May Revision is available here. Here is a table summarizing the changes: May Revise Chart

March 12, 2015 – League Analysis of LAO Report
Legislative Analyst’s Office – Analysis of the 2015-16 Higher Education Budget Proposal
On February 27, the LAO published their higher education analysis of the Governor’s proposed budget.

Funding Level
The LAO notes that, while core funding is up and enrollment is down, the per-student increase is insufficient to
keep up entirely with inflation; specifically, inflation-adjusted spending per community college student in 2014-15 is 0.8 percent lower than in 2007-08.

The LAO recommends that the Legislature specify any augmentations above growth and COLA for its highest priorities.  Specifically, the LAO targets the $125 million CCC base increase and another $170M in
unallocated Prop 98 funds for meeting legislative priorities. 
Meanwhile, the League will be working to
explain the need for retaining flexibility for use of these funds as well as developing a list of the system’s priorities, should the Legislature seek to implement the LAOs recommendation.   

New Growth Allocation Formula
The LAO asserts that the growth allocation formula developed by the Chancellor’s  Task Force on Fiscal Affairs does not meet legislative requirements so has proposed that the Chancellor’s Office “develop one or more alternative growth allocation models that better balance need, capacity, and demand” to be completed by May 1.

In the waning days of the 2014 budget season, language was inserted into the Education Budget Trailer Bill to require the Chancellor’s Office to develop a revised growth formula for districts including, but not limited to, “the number of individuals younger than 25 years of age without a bachelor’s degree and the number of persons within a district’s boundaries who are in poverty and have limited English skills as primary factors.” The task of recommending an appropriate formula was delegated to the Chancellor’s Task Force on Fiscal Affairs.

While the task force used proxies as close to the required factors as possible while simultaneously creating a formula which would match funding with demand, the LAO criticizes the formula as not sufficiently consistent with statutory guidance.

The primary cause of the differences between the task force’s recommendations and the statutory language is that the factors proposed in the trailer bill are similar to those used for the local funding formula for K-12 schools.  However, community colleges differ from K-12 schools in that the colleges do not have mandatory enrollment so cannot require attendance by their local population and the colleges have free flow so that many colleges serve significant numbers of students who live outside their boundaries.   The result, as recognized by the LAO is that “enrollment need….aligns poorly with enrollment demand in some districts.”

Enrollment Budgeting and Stability Funding
The LAO finds that community college enrollment has grown by 2.0 percent in 2014-15 which is lower than the 2.75 percent provided in the budget.  The LAO recommends that the Legislature use the updated P2 data later in the spring and adjust growth funding for both the current and budget years.

Upon noting that the Governor proposes 2 percent growth funding ($107 million, for 23,000 FTE students) in 2015-16, while eliminating $47 million in “restoration” (i.e., stability) funding, the LAO recommends that the Legislature specify the amount and purpose of enrollment growth funding in the budget.  Further, the LAO disagrees with the Administration’s assertion that the $47 million reduction is a technical adjustment; instead, it requires a statutory change. This assures that there will be discussion of stability/restoration in the budget and/or budget trailer bill.

Student Performance  
The LAO finds that four-year completion rates declined (to 35%) for the community college student-cohort entering in 2009-10. They express concern about excess unit-taking indicating that the average community college student generates more than double the required units for his/her certificate or degree.

The LAO notes that, while lacking justification for additional freshman slots, CSU reported denying admission to 18,000 eligible transfer students in fall 2014, but has not specified the number who were denied access to their local CSU campus.  The LAO therefore recommends that CSU report, by May 1, data to allow the Legislature to determine if some campuses require growth funding to enroll eligible transfer applicants at their local campus.

Equity Plans
The LAO indicates that they will respond to the student equity plans during spring hearings, after they have the opportunity to review the plans.

Additional Recommendations
The LAO also recommends:

1) Approval of the six-month extension on SSSP funds for 2013-14 and 2014-15;
2) Creation of a CCC student support block grant to consolidate seven student support programs -- SSSP, EOPS, Financial Aid Administration; CalWORKS, Student Services, Student Success for Basic Skills Students, the Fund for Student Success, and Campus Child Care support – totaling $691 million and proposes that these funds be allocated to districts upon adoption of a new funding formula based on certain suggested criteria.

Link to full report: http://lao.ca.gov/reports/2015/budget/higher-education/hed-budget-analysis-022715.pdf

Good Budget News for California’s Community Colleges
Governor Brown’s proposed 2015-16 budget is the best in recent years for our system. He made substantial investments in student success, equity and access while respecting our colleges’ need to make appropriate decisions for the uniqueness of districts. It is clear that Governor Brown identifies with our mission while also understanding the growing costs facing our districts. The budget bills containing the Governor’s proposals are AB 103 (Weber) and SB 69 (Leno).

Its important to note that, while this is a good budget year for community colleges, there are a number of fiscal challenges colleges will face in the next several years. They include a sharp increase in employer contributions to CalPERS/CalSTRS, the sunset of Proposition 30 revenues, lack of state support for facilities and the absence of either a property tax or general –shortfall backfill. Both the Community College Chancellor’s Office and the Department of Finance have encouraged community colleges to spend their budget augmentations wisely and prudently, given these considerations.

For an extended analysis of the budget proposal, click here.

Governor Brown's Budget Augmentation Proposal – Line Items

click on image to download PDF version

 Helpful Links

 ⇒ Base Augmentation Briefing
 ⇒ Fast Facts
 ⇒ Find Your Legislator
 ⇒ Bill Tracking
⇒ 2016 Budget Summary PPT

 2016 Election Information

 ⇒ Ballot Initiatives Webinar
 ⇒ Sample Ballot Resolution


 ⇒ Assembly Budget Committee
 ⇒ CalChannel
 ⇒ CA Legislative Analyst's Office
 ⇒ CCC Chancellor's Office

  For budget inquiries, contact one
  of the following League staff:

Community College League of California
2017 O Street, Sacramento CA 95811-5211
(916) 444-8641 | (916) 444-2954 fax
Email: cclc@ccleague.org

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