Governor's Budget: Chancellor Thor - January 10, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

First I want to wish you a happy new year and to tell you how optimistic I am about 2014. Part of the reason for my optimism is Gov. Jerry Brown's 2014-15 budget proposal.

Since the governor's budget proposal was “leaked” earlier this week, you may already know that he is continuing his push to restore education funding in California, with more revenue expected than he had last year. In the budget proposal officially released Thursday, Gov. Brown clearly demonstrates his commitment to increasing student access and success in higher education, and to advancing the equity agenda. Also notable is what he isn’t proposing – no student fee increases or linking of base funding to completion.

State Chancellor Brice Harris calls the governor’s budget proposal the best in recent memory for community college students. This is good news for us as we continue to address our district’s anticipated structural deficit, projected at $5 million to $6 million for 2014-15. We face this ongoing challenge because of our enrollment declines. 

We’ll keep you updated as we analyze what the governor’s budget proposal means for Foothill-De Anza. Meanwhile, here are some key line items affecting community colleges, including funding increases over the prior year: 

  •  Proposition 98 guarantee – An 11.4% year-over-year increase, to $61.6 billion, in the K-14 minimum funding guarantee, plus $3.3 billion in one-time funds. Most of the one-time dollars would be used to pay down existing obligations from funding deferrals in previous years.
  •  Increased access$155.2 million to increase student access, a 3% increase, with priority given to districts “identified as having the greatest unmet need in adequately serving their community’s higher education needs.”
  •  COLA ­– $48.5 million for a 0.86% statutory cost-of-living increase, which Vice Chancellor Kevin McElroy reports would bring approximately $1.4 million to Foothill-De Anza.
  •  Student success – $200 million for the Student Success and Support Program (formerly matriculation) and closing access and achievement gaps for underrepresented students. Additionally, the governor proposes reallocating up to 25% from select categorical programs to meet the needs of underrepresented students as identified in Student Equity Plans.
  •  Equipment & maintenance$175 million split evenly between instructional equipment and deferred maintenance.
  •  Innovative education $50 million in one-time funds to reward UC, CSU and community college campuses for using innovative higher education models that increase the number of students who earn bachelor’s degrees, increase the number of bachelor’s degrees earned within four years, and ease transfer through the state’s higher education system.
  •  Deferrals $235.6 million to pay down funding deferrals plus $356.8 million in one-time monies for this purpose.
  •  Proposition 39$39 million for energy-efficient projects and workforce development.

Additional information and analysis can be found using these links:

Office of the Governor (press release)

California Department of Finance (budget documents)

Community College League of California (summary)

California Legislative Analyst’s Office (fiscal outlook)

The governor’s proposal is just the start of the state budget development process. Changes undoubtedly will occur over the next six months as the Legislature weighs in. It will be important for all members of our college community to engage in advocacy efforts supporting the governor’s budget as there will be pressure from many quarters to divert dollars to other priorities.

 Winter quarter is off to a strong start. This favorable budget news means we can continue to look forward with excitement at new opportunities, knowing we will be able to do more to serve students.

Thank you for all you do,

Linda M. Thor, Ed.D.

Foothill-De Anza Community College District

12345 El Monte Road

Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
(650) 949-6100

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