Budget Blues - Feb. 7, 2012
Yesterday, the Legislative Analyst's Office released its annual analysis of the impact of the governor's budget on Proposition 98 and community colleges. In it, there were very few surprises, but it provides a good opportunity to update you on several items.
Current year deficit - The current year deficit is growing larger, and will likely exceed 3%. The official word should come from the state Chancellor's Office within the next ten days. We are preparing an aggressive media and legislative effort to highlight the impact of this largely unexpected mid-year cut to our colleges. While securing a backfill amidst the state's cash flow and structural budget problems will be difficult, it is essential that the cut and its impact on student access and success not be ignored.
Apportionment and categorical flexibility - The governor's budget trailer bill language was released late last week and, as expected, it proposes radical changes to the way the state Chancellor's Office distributes both apportionment and categorical funding to our colleges. With a need to focus on securing temporary revenues to balance the budget with a plan to restore funding to our colleges, this is not the year to re-write SB 361, eliminate equalization and our commitment to enhanced noncredit funding, and pit existing categorical programs against one another.
Instead, we need to highlight the significant cuts community colleges have taken, the accrued deficit to our per-student funding, and support a new Student Success Initiative. That initiative, which would build on the foundation of matriculation, will enable significant new student support services as revenues are restored to our colleges.
Budget Highs and Lows - In the budget business, there are good days and bad days. Last Wednesday, Facebook announced an IPO that would value the company between $80-$100 billion. If the IPO goes forward, this will likely increase state revenues between $300 - $750 million in 2012-13. More importantly, it will significant rev Califoria's economic engine in the Bay Area, as newly realized wealth translates into increased consumer spending and real estate transactions.
On the downside, yesterday there was the news that a federal panel denied a waiver request by California to require co-pays for Medi-Cal patients, the latest in a series of rulings that have blocked many of the budget-balancing health and human services cuts. While this is good for economically disadvantaged population, it adds another $575 million to next year's budget problem on top of the $9.2 billion budget deficit.
Let's hope that we get a good budget news day today!
Where have all the women gone? Last week, the Califoria Budget Project released a report looking at the impact of the Great Recession on California's women and their families. In it, there was a shocking statistic - "Enrollment in California’s community colleges dropped by 129,612 between 2007-08 and 2010-11, with women accounting for a full 81.6 percent of the reduced enrollment."
Quickly looking at MIS data myself, it appears that this is mostly the consequence of the elimination of noncredit and/or recreational classes, with a sizeable majority of the lost female students with noncredit or <6 credit unit status. Among female students 20-24, we actually increased during this time of reduced enrollment, including among Latina and African-American women.
However, with devastating child care and CalWORKs cuts on the table for the 2012-13 budget that would likely force out tens of thousands of poor women community college students, we should probably look more deeply into the CBP report's finding. And, there has been some concern that "pink collar" job training has been cut in our colleges to place more of a focus on transfer and perceived higher demand career technical training. That may be done for the right reasons, but we need to ensure subgroups of our students aren't falling through the cracks.
Are you seeing anything on your campus that would explain the number? If so, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community College League of California