Glendale Community College aims for growth

Glendale Community College officials hope to increase the number of full-time equivalent students by nearly 1.5% this academic year, and they are also concerned about the impending end of Proposition 30, which saved the college from making drastic budget cuts two years ago.

This year, state officials will provide additional revenue to colleges that see more students sign up for classes, said Ron Nakasone, executive vice president of administrative services, during a meeting of the college board of trustees Tuesday.

"If Glendale College can grow this year, it would be an ideal time because I think there's going to be a significant amount of growth revenues available for each of the community colleges," Nakasone said.

Two full-time students taking classes worth 12 units and two half-time students with fewer units would equate to three full-time equivalent students.

A 2.75% boost in students could mean nearly $2 million for the Glendale campus alone, but the college expects to see closer to a 1.5% increase in full-time equivalent students — about 600 — that would let the Glendale campus rake in nearly $1 million.

In addition to ongoing enrollment concerns, officials raised questions about the end of a temporary tax measure that has allowed campuses across California more breathing room as they recover from several years of substantial budget cuts, forcing local educators to cut hundreds of classes and putting thousands of students on waiting lists.

When Proposition 30 passed in November 2012, it effectively let college officials walk away from plans to let go of nearly 20 employees. Meanwhile, Glendale Unified educators abandoned cutting $12 million from their budget, in addition to the millions of dollars they had already lost.

The temporary cash boost came after voters approved increasing the tax rate of individuals who make over $250,000 annually, and hiking the state sales tax.

But with the additional Proposition 30 revenue set to end in 2017, officials questioned this week what steps the college should take next.

"When do we start coming up with plan B?" asked college Trustee Anita Quinonez Gabrielian.

Nakasone said he thinks some may push to make Proposition 30 a permanent fixture in the state.

However, if the tax increase remains temporary, some college officials are worried "it's going to be a huge hit" on community colleges and K-12 schools, Nakasone said, although state officials anticipate an improved economy will help fill the funding gap.

Still, professor Richard Kamei, also president of the college's faculty guild, urged officials to begin to prepare for the potential revenue loss.

"I hope that we begin to strategize how to ensure additional revenue in the very near future," he said.

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