News

Colleges slashed but K-12 spared in Brown's state budget proposal

Gov. Jerry Brown's state budget proposal drew positive reactions from school officials in local elementary, middle and high schools. However, representatives from the Foothill-De Anza College Community College District, as well as from the Community College League of California, were far less enthusiastic.

While the governor announced that primary and secondary schools would not be cut under his plan, community colleges, along with both state university systems, will take cuts of $400 million and $500 million respectively.

Brown has been nothing if not blunt in his attempt to slash $12.5 billion in state spending, saying there would be lots of ugly cuts, with on exception.

"Schools have borne the brunt of spending reductions in recent years, so this budget maintains funding at the same level as the current year," Brown said in a press release.

Donna Campbell, president of the teachers union in the Mountain View Whisman School District, said she was pleased with the announcement.

"If he can get through this budget crisis without any additional cuts that would be absolutely fabulous," Campbell said.

Scott Lay, president and CEO of the Community College League, acknowledged Brown for his forthrightness, but nonetheless insisted that the League will resist the proposed cuts of $400 million to community colleges in California, which he said were unfair.

"This will have the effect of reducing math and science classes, particularly at our colleges serving the most vulnerable students," Lay said. The League hopes to help "rework this proposal so that we can focus on the important task of informing the public of the impact of the overall balanced approach the governor has identified," he said.

If the proposed budget were to be implemented without changes, Foothill-De Anza would stand to lose about $10.9 million in funding, and it would force the district to drop enrollment by about 4,400 students at time when the University of California and California State University systems "are likely to further tighten admissions and direct more students to community colleges," said district spokeswoman Becky Bartindale,

In his memo, Erik Skinner, the executive vice chancellor for programs at the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, reminded his colleagues that at this point proposed budget is just that -- proposed. The proposal is built on the assumption that voters will approve $12 billion in taxes in a special June election.

Striking a glass-half-full tone, Skinner wrote that while the cuts come on top of $520 million in cuts to California community colleges last year and that "community college districts are already wrestling with brutal budget choices," if Brown succeeds in moving the state toward a balanced budget, "it may be worth the pain."

"It's difficult to use the words happy and budget in the same sentence," said Craig Goldman, superintendent of the Mountain View Whisman School District. "But we are all relieved that (the governor) did not propose mid year cuts for 2010 to 2011 and we're cautiously optimistic that we'll have a flat budget for next year. At the same time, because the budget is dependent upon a special June election, we really can't approach next year with any sense of confidence."

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by pj
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Mr. Lay said these cuts would have the effect of reducing math and science.

Why cut math and science if they are so important?

Don't they list all their classes from most important to least important and start cutting from the bottom?

It's like some schools threaten to drop sports if they don't get more money.

Come on. Let's be professional and set good priorities.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by stephanie
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2011 at 1:19 am

Given the high salary paid to the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources in the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, it is not surprising that colleges were slashed and K-12 was spared. The money spent on that salary could be better spent on other things.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roland R
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 15, 2011 at 10:17 am

Why not just close the entire community college system for a year or two?! Everyone gets a year off until the budget is balanced. Meanwhile, the local companies and CEO's (MSFT, AAPL, CSCO, GOOG) can continue hiring overseas engineers from India and China and in the interim, complain to Congress how they can't find any local talent to hire.

Where to house the newly hired? Build 535 unit apartment structure along the El Camino with a cheap, labor workforce from South America. City Council won't give a damn who builds it. Their only focus is the increased tax revenue generated from each unit which is then redirected to their fattening wallets and pensions so they can send their own kids directly to a 4-year university. The current underprivileged graduating high schoolers can work retail like Walmart and Target. That one budding, young entrepreneur? Open up a medical marijuana shop on the El Camino.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Erik Kengaard
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2011 at 9:41 am

In the 1950s, tuition at UCB was zero, students could share rented apartments for $30 to $50 per month each, with other living expenses less than $100 per month. Students could easily earn between $1.20 and $2.00 an hour, more than enough to make their way through school and graduate with a few dollars in the bank. Look it up. Then came Pat Brown and the progressives.
It is heart breaking to see California descend down the road to ruin, paved by the good intentions of the naive. Someone ought to put together a time line of the events that led to the present sorry state of affairs. A starting point would be about 50 years ago when Phil Burton and his welfare bill (ab 59) started California downhill. Look it up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by whathappened
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Schools have not been cut at all only the increase in growth CA is spending about 11 000 per student in K-12 That is in browns budget. But beyond that if anyone really wants change they must vote against this tax proposal if it passes two things will happen the gov will find billions to keep on spending and they will be screaming for more taxes with in 12 months This election will turn on the minorities being willing to pay a few hundred a year more because they will be told we will punish the rich for you that is what it is all about Meanwhile the gov employees will continue to get 75 and 90 percert of their pay in retirment


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hardin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Its rather difficult to wade through the swath of generalities, assumptions, and quasi-data I've read mentioned in the threads so far, to gain even a smidgen of substance from the whole:

1. Cutting all administrative salaries will not come close to bridging the current budget gaps. Though somewhat satisfying from a reactionary perspective, it does little to address the problem.

2. Total elimination of the community college system would incur a disruption of education system that would affect the whole. Think of education from primary thru college to be a progression, or to put it badly, a production line. Simply cutting out a part of any production line without modifying the other steps would be idiocy.

For example, what do young teenagers who no longer have a route to college, nor any job prospects in this economy most likely going to do?

3. $11,000 per student in K-12 sure sounds like a lot of money, until you compare that with what other states are spending on their students. From the data I've seen, California does not rank in the top 20% of any survey when it comes to per student capita of spending.

Web Link

Bear in mind, that education spending directly correlates to the amount of support a child needs. With a relatively large immigrant (legal and illegal) that have serious needs in education, the state should be spending more per capita than it already is.

Web Link

Bottom line, California has a large percentage of its population that is below average in its educational experience, and requires the requisite funding to address this. Many will have differing opinions on the reasons HOW to address this problem, but there should not be any question as to WHY it is the way it is.

California, and its residents, need to see the simple fact: there are more needs and wants than there are dollars to fund them.

Its time to make decisions on what gets cut, and what stays, instead of fingering blame, which is what our polarized, partisan elected officials have been stuck doing the last 15 years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roland R
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm

@Hardin, Thanks for the links with the overwhelming amount of info. Today, Tuesday at Foothill, the instructor handed out survey forms asking students how often they frequent each of the student services. Foothill is preparing for big cuts and will probably scale back on a lot of services. Hopefully, all surrounding Starbucks will stay open past midnight for students who can't seem to get in adequate library time.
As a community and state, we really don't have our priorities in order when it comes to serving underprivileged college students and returning students. Its extremely unfortunate that our local CEO's who graduated in the 50's and 60's with little expense of their own (according to Erik K), seem unwillingly to pressure Congress to do more for post-secondary education. Stop with the cuts!


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