Budget Hearing & a Backfill Bill - April 10, 2012
First off, we had a bill amended yesterday to provide a property tax and student fee revenue backfill to once and for all stop the "February Surprises" that have so frequently curtailed student access and threatened college finances.
Former trustee and Assemblymember Warren Furutani yesterday amended AB 2591 to provide a mechanism for tracking these state projected revenues and fulfilling the budget promise made by the state each year.
We encourage districts and other community college organizations to send a letter to Assembly Higher Education in support of AB 2591 as soon as possible. Here is a link to a sample letter.
Meanwhile, while I was in the Bay Area yesterday, Theresa asked me to pass along these notes about yesterday's hearing:
The first public hearing on community college budget issues occurred on Monday in the Senate and was well attended by system advocates. While the entire hearing was informational and the committee took no action on any of the proposals – advocates attended to ensure their voice was heard. Vice Chancellor of Fiscal Policy Dan Troy walked the committee through the impact of the series of cuts our colleges have experienced since the beginning of the fiscal year and underscored the impact of $564 million in cuts since July 1, 2011.
System advocates provided context and real faces on the impact of those budget reductions. District chancellor’s and college presidents, trustees, faculty members, classified employees, and students shared their personal stories on how the state budget cuts have impacted their lives. In particular the Associated
Meanwhile, student leaders from Fresno City College (who traveled on Easter Sunday by train to ensure an on-time appearance at the hearing) implored legislators to continue to “invest” in students and the state by ensuring additional resources are made available to community colleges. Students also highlighted how difficult it is to secure classes and complete their programs in a timely manner and reminded legislators of the tremendous return on investment realized by the State when students achieve their educational goals and become productive members of society.
The community college budget will be discussed again on Wednesday, April 25th @4pm and community colleges advocates will have another opportunity to have their voices heard by legislators. The community college showing yesterday was small compared to the K-12 and health and human services hearings, and we really need to encourage our advocates to show up in force in Sacramento on April 25th!
I know you are probably getting a little tired of the "A Defining Moment" header in my e-mails. However, to my core, I believe this is the most challenging time ever for California's Community Colleges. Never before has there been so many citizens looks to us for a college education or job skills, and never before has our system faced the cuts we have endured since 2009-10.
Keep up the faith, as well as the fight!
Community College League of California