Budget Town Hall & Scenarios Summary - Feb. 4, 2011

Dear colleagues,

As you may know, Governor Jerry Brown’s effort to close a $25.4 billion budget deficit includes a proposal to cut $400 million from California community colleges in 2011-12. Unfortunately, the cut to community colleges could double to an unimaginable $900 million if voters don’t extend the expiring temporary tax increases at a special election in June.

In order to begin discussions about the implications of the Governor’s proposal, we have scheduled a series of town hall meetings beginning this week. Before telling you more, I want to note the times and locations of these important town hall events, which are being held to bring you up to date on the district’s budget planning:

De Anza: Thursday, Feb. 10 at 11:30 a.m. in the Fireside Lounge in the Campus Center.

Please click here to download a pdf (141kb) of the FHDA Budget Scenarios Summary for the 2011-12 year.

There is no way around it – 2011-12 is going to be a difficult year even under the best of circumstances.

The governor’s budget includes deep cuts to nearly all state programs and higher education was not spared. The UC and CSU systems each face a proposed reduction of $500 million. Along with community college leaders, UC and CSU executives are bracing the public for what inevitably will be shrinking availability of higher education opportunities at all levels next year.

Foothill-De Anza’s share of the governor’s proposed budget cuts is estimated at $11.3 million under the best-case scenario, and $17.6 million to $25.5 million if the tax extensions fail. The wide range in the amounts depends on how Proposition 98 funding for K-12 schools and community colleges is handled.  

Last week, three elected members of the district’s board of trustees and our two student trustees traveled to Sacramento to advocate for community colleges. We met with local legislators to discuss the governor’s budget and its impact at Foothill and De Anza. In meetings with Senators Elaine Alquist and Joe Simitian, and Assembly Members Paul Fong, Rich Gordon and Jim Beall, we heard the same message: Don’t ask to be spared from any of the budget cuts without proposing alternative reductions; expect the proposed fee increase of $10 per semester unit to stay; and, if voters don’t approve the tax extensions in June, the cuts will be much worse.

Given that legislators are determined to help solve the current state budget imbalance with permanent cuts, it is a near certainty that at least $400 million in cuts will be imposed upon California community colleges next year. This is the reality in which our budget planning is taking place, and these will be cuts that our colleges will continue to feel for years.

Budget negotiations will progress quickly in Sacramento to meet the March 1 deadline the governor set for producing a budget that reflects $12.5 billion in statewide funding reductions. Then in June, we will learn whether revenue from the tax extensions will be available help close the remaining $12 billion budget gap, or whether even deeper cuts will be required.

I am sure that leaders from every constituency group at Foothill-De Anza –students, faculty, staff, administrators and the board – will work tirelessly with legislators to seek as much local control as possible in terms of how the cuts are made. And we will actively participate in deliberations around education policy decisions that may come forward as part of budget process.

As we plan for the pending cuts in the district, we will work with constituency groups and employee group representatives on how we can make permanent expense reductions to address the new state budget realities. Our district has an admirable record of working together for the common good. That is fortunate because, more than ever, we are going to need everyone’s assistance in addressing these enormous challenges.

Best regards,

Linda M. Thor, Chancellor

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