Valley College Falls Short in Proposed Budget Plan : Finances: Although a move to give the Van Nuys campus more money has support, a 'less-disruptive' five-year formula is being suggested.


Los Angeles Community College District officials today will propose a 1992-93 budget in which Valley College would again receive less money than it generates, despite indications that the district might revise a funding formula that Valley administrators called unfair.

Chancellor Donald Phelps and several members of the Board of Trustees had said they favored a formula that would immediately give the college at least $1 million a year to repair decaying facilities and restore hundreds of classes.

But Vice Chancellor Neil Yoneji will propose at today's board meeting a five-year plan that would gradually increase Valley's budget by reducing its contributions to the district as a whole. But the college would receive no increase next year.

Yoneji's plan, favored by most of the college presidents in the district, would cause the least disruption to the other eight campuses, he said.

"The whole idea is not to drive the smaller schools out of business and to help them develop," district spokesman Fausto Capobianco said.

Valley College administrators, faculty and students have complained that their campus has not received its fair share of district funds for more than a decade. President Mary E. Lee said the college has generated between $1 million and $2 million a year more for the district than it receives.

The result, Lee said, has been that Valley has sacrificed routine maintenance, clerical and counseling staffs, student services and capital improvements to maintain instructional programs.

But during the last three years, she said, instructional programs have been affected by the financial crunch and the college has been forced to cut hundreds of classes.

"Valley is and has been seriously underfunded," Lee said.

In the 1991 school year, Valley generated $23.7 million in state funds, based on the number of students it serves. But the college district, which administers the money, allocated only about $22.1 million to Valley, funneling the balance to smaller or newer colleges.

Last month, Lee headed a contingent of about 200 Valley College administrators, faculty and student leaders who asked trustees for an immediate infusion of $750,000 and an additional $1 million in 1992-93. About 100 representatives of the 20,000-student Van Nuys campus restated their case at last week's board meeting.

But under Yoneji's plan, each college would contribute to a funding pool that would be redistributed to colleges based largely on enrollment. Last week, he presented variations of the proposal with redistribution pools ranging from $1 million to $10 million.

At that time, Phelps and at least three of the seven trustees said they favored a pool of between $4 million and $5 million, which would give Valley an extra $1.3 million to $1.4 million a year.

But after a meeting with college presidents, Yoneji will propose a $10-million pool, a plan that would give Valley, Pierce College in Woodland Hills and Los Angeles City College no extra funds next year, but would increase the budgets of the other six colleges.

Lee said she is disappointed.

"If Valley College were allocated funds in relation to the number of students who are educated at the college and who receive student services at the college, Valley would have an additional $2,292,000" next year, she said.

With a $5-million pool, Valley College would still contribute $784,000 to help small and medium-sized colleges, Lee said. This is proportionate with the district's two other large campuses--City College with a contribution of $753,000 and Pierce, which would contribute $803,000--Lee said.

Using the $10-million formula, City College would contribute $602,000 and Pierce $608,000, while Valley's share would be $1.6 million. That is "clearly a step away from equity," Lee said.

Some Valley administrators may not adhere to the plan to redistribute state funds. "We have been promised a more equitable budget allocation for years," said Mary Ann Breckell, Valley College's vice president of administrative services.

Two years ago and again last year, Valley College was asked to become part of a five-year plan to give its budget equity with other colleges, she said. Valley administrators endorsed such plans, but the funding formulas were later changed.

"Valley College cannot agree to any plan that does not give the college budget equity now," Breckell said.

Capobianco said he believes that trustees will adopt Yoneji's plan.

"It's hard to argue with this plan," he said. "Some of the smaller colleges do need help from the larger ones. All the schools need more money."

District officials said all nine campuses could get more money if Gov. Pete Wilson's proposal to increase community college funding by 10.1% is approved.

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