More cuts are on their way for RCC

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By Ashley Anderson / News Editor

Bad news (Allison Perez / Photo Editor)

By Ashley Anderson / News Editor

The problem of budget cuts is being tackled by community college districts all across the state.

Riverside Community College District is no exception. Chancellor Gregory Gray has presented the budget shortfall of $14.31 million for RCCD for the 2012-13 academic year, which is the best case scenario, if the Governor’s Tax Initiative in November is passed.

The tax initiative includes a temporary sales tax increase of .5 percent and an increase of income taxes for top bracket income earners in order to help fund education in California.

If this tax initiative does not pass, RCCD will have to cut an additional $6.3 million along with the shortfall mentioned above, bringing our total District wide deficit up to $20.61 million which Chancellor Gray calls “budget Armageddon.”

For now, the $9.48 million in solutions proposed by Chancellor Gray might prove to make a dent in the $14.31 million budget problem.  

Some of these solutions would be coming from areas such as faculty health care savings, funding shifts, and reducing contingency from 5 percent to 3 percent.

This means that RCCD will contingently spend 97 percent of their total budget rather than the 95 percent usually spent.

However the plan to cut $1.22 million of health care benefits from employees unilaterally will be tough, negotiations will have to be done with the faculty union in order to accomplish this big of a cut.  

“This is a real dangerous area to go,” said Ward Schinke, associate professor of Political Science. “People obviously need quality health care; I don’t think our health care benefits are that generous that we can afford to take a cut.”

The remaining $4.81 million in cuts will be shared between all three colleges, Riverside City College, Moreno Valley College, and Norco College.

This means RCC will be facing a $2.68 million in cuts of its own. The Moreno Valley share of the deficit is $1.15 million. Norco comes in at $980,000 in cuts.

Cynthia Azari, President of RCC, has the task now of closing the $2.68 million gap for RCC. Starting with a cut to large lecture sections being offered in the amount of $190,000 will be reduced.

One faculty member at the session suggested that the District office was not proposing any cuts at the district level.

The question was directed at Chancellor Gray. Chancellor Gray responded by stating that they were looking at budget cuts at all levels.

 “Cutting at the top,” said RCC student Miguel Ramirez, ethnic representative for the Student California Teachers Association. “Lead by example, as a leader you set an example so the Chancellor should start by looking into his own administration.”

Many students and faculty agree with Ramirez when he said, “We need education, therefore, students should become aware and informed about how to vote for this upcoming tax initiative.”

November will prove to bring many changes to RCCD whether or not the tax initiative passes, but if the tax initiative doesn’t pass it will possibly bring a “budget Armageddon.”

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