State Budget Update - June 16, 2010
Conference Committee Discusses Community College Budget
The two-house, ten-person committee charged with reconciling the differences between the two legislative chambers reached community colleges for the first time today, after a week of deliberations on other issues.
While yesterday marked the constitutional deadline for the Legislature's passage of the budget, a requirement missed in 26 of the last 30 years, the Conference Committee avoided taking action on the big picture issues that will affect the overall funding for community colleges, along with K-12 and the other segments of higher education.
Issues such as CalWORKs, Child Care, and the overall funding levels of both K-14 Proposition 98 and higher education will be subject to larger discussions likely behind the leadership curtain and out of the view of the public. These decisions likely will be held for "Big 5" discussions among the governor and the four legislative leaders.
The committee began the discussion on community colleges with a detailed discussion on student fees and the impact on student enrollment. The Legislative Analyst's Office renewed its proposal of increasing fees to $40/unit to pay for enrollment growth proposed by the governor, using the argument that fee waivers are available to single students with incomes up to $45,000 and single parents with incomes up to $80,000.
Senator Bob Huff made a motion to raise fees to $40/unit. Denise Ducheny, former San Diego CCD trustee, stated that while she's not as "hysterical" against fee increases as in the past, she was concerned that an increase to $40/unit was too much for one year. While Assembly Democrats on the committee said they are still hysterical about fees, it appears that, if Proposition 98 support for the colleges drops below the governor's proposal, the committee would turn to a fee increase to fund enrollment growth and protect categoricals. The committee held the issue open pending decisions that determine the total amount of Proposition 98 general funds for community colleges.
The committee also discussed the Senate budget subcommittee's shift of basic skills funds based on successful basic skills course completion and performance-based funding generally. The committee adopted language that requires the Chancellor to craft performance-based funding language for basic skills funds to implement in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Also, the committee discussed the Senate budget subcommittee's language to distribute some of the Student Financial Aid Administration funds on the basis of Pell Grant awards, rather than BOG fee waivers. The LAO recommended adoption of the redirection, but delaying the implementation to 2011-12, recognizing that the new fiscal year begins in two weeks. While no action was taken, there seemed to be agreement to require a study of ways to creative incentives for colleges to increase FAFSA completions for 2012-13 implementation.
* The League supports the increased investment of $100 million, but would allocate the money to maintain and increase short-term job training slots more broadly, through the Economic Development, Career Technical and Enrollment Growth items.
** Technically, because the Assembly and the Senate took the same action, these issues are not before the Conference Committee for consideration, but may be subsequently reopened.
***On career-technical education, the League would support a $20 million additional investment, although not paid for using cuts to Part-time Faculty Compensation and EOPS.
Commission on the Future Moves Toward Report
The League's 2010 Commission on the Future held its final meeting last weekend, agreeing on a series of principles that will form its report--A 2020 Vision for Student Success. The commission's report is anticipated in September and is one of the most far-reaching looks at community college student success in the system's history.
The commission's work addresses major areas including Leadership and Accountability; Finance and Affordabilty; Teaching and Learning; and Intensive and Intrusive Student Services.
The report will be timely, with newspaper articles concurrently <http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-jobs-educate-20100612,0,1944150.story?page=1&track=rss>questioning the value of traditional college degrees, <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/14/business/la-fi-smallbiz-train-20100614>highlighting the value of community college training for small businesses, and <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/06/15/jobs>arguing that far more college degrees need to be produced.
Indeed, the headlines could make one's head spin.
Regardless of the trend one is pursuing, there that are evidenced-based strategies that can significantly increase student success, while reducing or eliminating the participation and achievement gaps.
I look forward to working with your colleagues on the commission to share its findings with you, and to take the steps needed to meet the economic and moral challenges to increase completions.
President and Chief Executive Officer