DSPS adviser on loan from Mesa

City College’s Disability Support Programs and Services was forced to borrow a counselor from Mesa College after losing a full-time counselor from City’s campus.

This problem came on the heels of a huge funding reduction under Gov. Jerry Brown’s new budget.

According to Peter White, City’s vice-president of student services, the funding for special services, which funds DSPS, was cut by nearly 50 percent, in addition to the smaller cut that was made to the district’s general fund.

The unnamed DSPS counselor who left City was forced to take a medical leave of absence after being diagnosed with an illness.

Currently, City and Mesa have only one full-time DSPS counselor on each campus.  A third counselor, who had previously worked full-time at Mesa, now divides her time between the two.

According to the San Diego Community College District annual report, between July 2010 and Oct. 2011, City had 966 DSPS students while Mesa had 1,057.

Besides being supported by state funds, DSPS receives grants to pay for technical applications.

According to Gail Conrad, the program’s district director, last year’s cuts were so severe that DSPS had to withdraw $1.6 million from the district’s general fund, money that is not usually set aside for such specialized services.

Conrad said that while it is normal for these services to dip into the general fund on a yearly basis, $1.6 million is an excessive amount. It is not known how much DSPS will need from the general fund this year. The amount may exceed the amount from last year.