State Budget Update - June 4, 2009
June 4, 2009
The Conference Committee on the State Budget is expected to discuss and may take action on education items today, including community college items. The committee hearing is "upon call of the chair," meaning it will happen sometime after this morning's floor sessions, and similar variable meetings have been announced for tomorrow and Saturday. You can listen http://126.96.36.199/SEN-4203 to the hearings or watch it online http://www.calchannel.com/. If we get more information about when the hearing will be, we'll post it to the League's Twitter stream http://www.twitter.com/ccleague/ where we will also try to post items as they happen in the committee.
Here are a few update items:
May Revise Changes: The http://www.scottlay.com/docs/6870MR.pdf "official" finance letters were submitted to the Legislature late Tuesday night. In them, the governor proposes changes to the budget changes that had previously been proposed to community colleges including:
Growth: The governor no longer proposes 1% enrollment growth in 2009-10, but instead redirects $58.3 million in growth funds to the apportionment to partially backfill falling property tax revenues.
Categorical cuts: The governor no longer proposes to exempt CalWORKs from the across-the-board categorical cuts in 2009-10, and instead proposes a cut of $23.3 million (54%). Under the governor's revised proposal, Foster Care Education would be exempt from the across-the-board cut in 2009-10.
All of the changes are reflected in the http://www.ccleague.org/files/public/09chart-junerevise.pdf revised League Budget Chart.
Is the Legislature really going to act quickly? That is the question I have been getting most frequently both via e-mail and in my visits to college campuses over the last couple of weeks. Frankly, we don't know. Legislative staff has been instructed to be technically ready to move these budget cuts through in the next couple of weeks, and some action must be taken by mid-July to avoid the state's coffers from going dry. Nevertheless, the political enormity would suggest that this will take months to do, at least in the larger level of cuts necessary. This obviously makes it very difficult to coordinate advocacy efforts, as we neither want to "cry wolf" nor miss an important window to tell the community college story.
The budget situation continues to deteriorate and is quite grim. Yesterday, the Obama Administration accepted the governor's revised federal stimulus application, which allows for the deep cuts proposed to education funding. Advocates for virtually every program are resigned to devastating cuts and are preparing for the long term campaign of rebuilding programs that are essential to what we know as the Golden State.
Across the board, we're going to be making difficult decisions. Personally, I'm currently trying to find $150,000 (6%) to cut from the League's budget. While it dwarfs in state budget terms, it's extraordinarily hard to do while protecting our hardworking staff. I'm asking our staff what they can do differently as we face a shrinking budget.
Thus, I'll ask the same question of you, and hope to hear from faculty, staff, administrators, trustees and community members. What would you do differently to save money in our colleges? Next week, we're going to be talking to the board of the chief business officers, and many of your ideas might be brought up for discussion. It's a time for necessary creativity, which will push us all out of our comfort boxes, but the resulting change might just be better for our students and communities, both in the difficult budget time and in the long run. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Community College League of California
2017 O Street, Sacramento, California 95811
916.444.8641 . www.ccleague.org