Thousands to be denied

In the battle for education, students continue to face huge setbacks statewide as legistators delivered another blow to school budgets.

San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll shared the statistics at a budget meeting on campus March 29.

“The California Community College system faces a loss of $400 million in funding with a chance of doubling,” Carroll explained. “If the legislature does not agree to place a tax extension proposal on the June ballot, the district may lose close to $17 million.”

At that same meeting, Carroll also announced that the cost per unit is set to increase to $36 from $26 starting the fall semester. She alluded that the extra charge would partially help in the grand scheme of things.

On March 30, the day after the budget meeting, state legislators chose not to approve the tax extension proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown to reduce cuts to education in California.

In reaction to the legislators’ decision, Carroll held a conference call with reporters. She announced that the district — which also includes Mesa College and Miramar College – is planning to drop 2,000 classes out of about 14,000 offered this year, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

She added that the district will be forced to turn away at least 27,000 students, up from 20,000 during the current academic year.

“We are not going to teach classes for free,” Carroll said. “We cannot afford classes we are not being paid for.”

State-wide, more than 400,000 community college students will be denied access to classes according to California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott.

“Without a June special election on Gov. Brown’s tax extension proposal, the chance of an all-cuts budget is highly likely,” said Chancellor Scott at a media briefing. “An $800 million reduction would be unprecedented and an absolute tragedy for our students, faculty and staff as well as a deep blow for our economy.”

The current amount of classes cannot be maintained because the district is, at this time, teaching more than 3,000 full-time-equivalent students (FTES) with no pay from the state. With the tax extension not approved to be on the ballot, cuts seem inevitable.

An FTES could be one student taking 15 units or five students taking 3 units. The state compensates schools about $5,000 per FTES.

City College President Terrence Burgess said at the budget meeting that he will be announcing the fate of summer classes at the end of the week of April 3. He also mentioned that year-round programs like nursing and cosmetology may not be considered for cuts.

“We will pull the trigger next week,” Burgess said.

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Thousands to be denied