Announcement - January 13, 2009

Talking Points on the Governor's Budget Proposal

from the Community College League of California

  • In his proposal, Governor Schwarzenegger recognizes California's community colleges as the safety net for job training and higher education in California. With unemployment currently at 8.4% and expected to rise to 9.4% by 2010, keeping the doors open to community colleges is essential for California's economic recovery.
  • The budget provides funding for 36,000 new full-time students in 2009-10, which would bring funded FTES enrollment to an all-time high of 1.22 million students. The governor's budget includes funding for enrollment growth for selected categorical programs, including EOPS, CARE, DSPS, Matriculation and Student Financial Aid Administration.
  • The governor's proposal to eliminate the statutory cost-of-living adjustment in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 fiscal year will result in a cut to per-student funding of 11%, or a cut of over $600 per student. This is leading to increased class sizes, and fewer instructional and student services necessary for student success. If this budget plan is enacted, over a three year period, community colleges will have been cut by over $750 million from the level approved by the voters in Proposition 98 at a time of rapidly growing enrollment and increased career technical education demands. While community colleges continue to tighten their belts, it is essential that community colleges be given the same ability provided to K-12 schools to restore this purchasing power when the state's budget situation improves.
  • We applaud the governor's signal that he is supportive of ending the longstanding uncertainty created by property tax shortfalls, and look forward to seeing legislative language to provide this protection. We are concerned that the budget does not recognize a growing current year shortfall.
  • We encourage the Legislature to consider the governor's strategy of legally reducing the state's appropriations to community colleges without programmatic cuts, so long as language is provided that gives the Chancellor discretion to consider district financial health when allocating the deferral among colleges.
    Competitive Cal Grants
  • We are disappointed that the governor again proposes eliminating the state's Competitive Cal Grant program, which provides over 44,600 community colleges students with an average income of less than $14,000 financial assistance necessary to succeed in college, in favor of students attending more expensive institutions with lower GPAs and higher incomes.
    Other Budgetary Impacts
  • The proposal to cut K-12 schools by $1.6 billion in the current year, which is expected to lead to a reduction of class days from 180 to 175 and elimination of course requirements for graduation, will heighten the basic skills crisis and negatively impact community colleges.
  • The depth of cuts to other programs, including social services programs that enable students to attend community college to increase their earning potential, is staggering. The Legislature and governor should work together to mitigate these cuts to avoid exacerbating the state's economic downturn by eliminating services that contribute to educational opportunity.

This document can be viewed from The Community College League of California web site

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