California legislature agrees on budget after 90 day stalemate

Even with a $10 billion deficit the 2011-2012 state budget was agreed on Oct. 8.

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By Nita Gandhi / News editor

By Nita Gandhi / News editor

Even with a $10 billion deficit the 2011-2012 state budget was agreed on Oct. 8.

According to a document from Scott Lay, executive vice president and CEO of the Community College League of California, community colleges in California will receive $206 million in new funds.

The breakdown of the budget is with a 2.21 percent enrollment growth is $126 million, $35 million is to backfill categorical cuts imposed in 2010, $25 million for Economic and Workforce Development programs, and $20 million for Career Technology programs equals to the $206 million that Lay stated in the document.

Lay states in the document the budget is flawed, but it is good for community colleges.

“The state budget provides funding for about 25,000 new full-time equivalent students in community colleges, expands targeted job training in high-demand industries, and provides colleges with some funds to mitigate the deep categorical program cuts imposed last year,” Lay wrote in an e-mail.

Aaron Brown, the associate vice chancellor of Finance at Riverside City College thinks highly of the new budget the state passed.

“The overall state budget, I think actually is a very good budget for community colleges and RCC in particular because we receive growth funding,” Brown said.

“We also didn’t receive any reductions in our general portion,” Brown said.

This is good thing for RCC students because it means that there will be a continuation of programs for students.

“In the current economic time we are in having a budget that basically leaves you whole plus a little bit of growth money is really a favorable situation for us,” Brown said.

“So that means we can continue to offer programs to students like we have in the past year,” Brown said.

A bad part about the new budget is that the $189 million increase is paid from a new deferral of $189 million from the 2010-2011 fiscal year to the 2011-2012 fiscal year which will total an inter year deferral of $892 million, Lay wrote in another document.

Lay wrote in an e-mail that his concern is to fund the new initiatives the state is essentially borrowing from the 2011-2012 budget by deferring the cash for the new investments to July 2011.

“The budget is believed to rely on many overly optimistic assumptions that will likely require mid-year cuts, overseen by the new governor,” Lay wrote in a document.

Brown said that the Chancellor of RCC Gregory Gray made it clear that there will be no more section cuts to the colleges’ budget for this fiscal year.

Chancellor Gray and Jim Buysse, vice chancellor of Administration and Finance were not available for comment as of press time.

Departments in the college apply for grants throughout the year for money.

Specifically for their departments to stop class cuts from happening.

RCC recently received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of $3 million over the next three years and a $5 million grant from Henry W. Coil, Jr. of Tilden-Coil Constructors Inc. for the school of the arts that will be named after Coil’s parents.

The $5 million from Coil is the highest amount ever given to RCC in its history.

“In the current economic time, I think this is a pretty favorable budget for community colleges,” Brown said.

“Things could have been a lot worse given with what we are faced with; the state is faced with a $19 billion budget deficit and for us not to take any reductions in this fiscal year is a favorable situation,” Brown said.

For more information and continuing updates on the state budget go to viewpointsonline.org.

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