Linda Thor's 2010-2011 Budget Message - Oct. 15, 2010
Finally, three months into the fiscal year, we have a state budget. For California community colleges, budget highlights include:
Funding for enrollment growth, which in reality would only partially backfill last year's reductions
Restoration of 10 percent of last year's devastating categorical program cuts, including a provision that the funding would not be paid until 2011-12, Rejection of a negative COLA, A new round of funding state funding deferrals, A minimal expansion of career technical education as well as workforce and economic development programs.
We believe we can operate under the budget adopted last month by our Board of Trustees, which assumed that we would hold even on state revenue, with no cut to base apportionment. Any enrollment growth funding, if it materializes, would help offset the expense associated with the 800 full-time equivalent students we served last year without any state funding, and who we will continue to serve. However, it is unlikely to be enough to support an increase in the number of course sections to meet the unprecedented demand for class offerings from our community.
If the state budget holds true, we would be able to bring back into the operating budget those 27 positions now slated for layoff at the end of the fiscal year (Escrow II). We must continue to be prudent in our fiscal decisions and maintain our own stability fund to address the possibility of mid-year reductions and the possibility of budget cuts next year. The state budget is seen by many as once again relying on overly optimistic assumptions that are likely to require additional reductions overseen by a new governor. California still has not resolved its structural budget deficit; there is little doubt that our state will face another major deficit in 2011-12.
As you well know, our fiscal strategy has involved elimination of nearly 170 full- and part-time positions from the budget in the past three years and sharp cuts to supply and operating budgets at every level. Neither of these approaches is sustainable over the long term to meet the needs of our students. We are fortunate to have had one-time funds to help us manage in this unstable fiscal environment, but those funds could be largely exhausted by the end of 2011-12.
So yes, we face challenges, and continue to hope for the best while working diligently to maintain the staffing and operational funding we need to provide our students with the best education possible. With the leadership of the Board of Trustees, the district continues to chart a path for fiscal stability and integrity. We are doing this by actively pursuing grants and donations, reducing energy and other costs, and taking steps to secure a stable source of local funding to help the district transition through this period of fiscal uncertainty.
In Foothill-De Anza's recent report seeking reaffirmation to the board of the League for Innovation in the Community College, Fred Sherman, our vice chancellor of technology, sums up the district's attitude toward its greatest resource, our faculty and staff. He says:
"Our source of excellence occurs through the innovations and hard work of our staff and faculty members. The shared goal of our administrators is to remove obstacles and provide resources so that excellence blossoms through the great work of our team members."
I could not agree more and want each of you to know how much we value your contributions. Please know that we are doing all we can to remove obstacles and provide you with the resources you need to continue Foothill-De Anza's legacy of excellence and innovation.
Linda M. Thor, Chancellor