GCC budget looking better

Glendale Community College may be approaching the light at the end of the tunnel.

As part of a tentative draft of the 2013-14 budget this week, college officials predict more students and more classes this fall.

Although college officials still have yet to approve the budget, Monday's meeting also signified the first time in five years that Ron Nakasone, executive vice president of administrative services, discussed a spending plan that didn't entail any state funding cuts.

"In the past, it's always been doom and gloom," he said.

In the spring of 2012, the state cut $149 million in funding to community colleges — the third cut to the 112-college system that year.

By the fall of 2012, Glendale Community College was grappling with a $4 million budget deficit and waitlists for classes tallying 5,000 students.

But the passage of Proposition 30 in November brought California community colleges a respite in the form of $579 million in additional funding.

In Glendale, officials predict there will be 1.63% more students than the roughly 15,000 it served in 2012 and 2013, but Nakasone was still unsure how many classes the college would need to add to the catalog to accommodate the growth.

And after taking a one-time 1.25% pay cut, all college employees will see their pay restored this year, Nakasone said.

Officials have also nearly closed a $1.9-million budget gap with help from a 1.57% cost-of-living boost — or $1.1 million — handed down from the state.

A retirement incentive offered by the college five years ago came to its final term this year, and will save the college $500,000 in the next year to also help bridge the gap.

It's still uncertain whether college employees will see a 1% pay raise that has been deferred since 2008, when the economic downturn took hold.

"Every year since then, we've declared a fiscal emergency," Nakasone said. That declaration has allowed officials to delay the 1% raise, which amounts to $600,000.

The decision on whether to implement the pay raise will likely be made June 24, when the board of trustees approves the new spending plan just days before newly hired Supt./President David Viar takes the helm on July 1.

"For the next few years, we're looking better," Nakasone said.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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