Countywide : Colleges Adopt $62.5-Million Budget

The Ventura County Community College District Board on Tuesday adopted a $62.5-million budget for the 1992-93 school year.

The budget, which reflects about $2 million in cuts, will raise student fees from $6 per unit to $10 per unit beginning Jan. 1.

The increase in student fees will help make up for the state budget shortfall. Officials said the state budget that was passed this year will provide enough money for the community colleges this year, but will trim funding in the future.

Moorpark College will receive $20.3 million, about $1 million less than last year. Ventura College will receive $22.4 million, about $400,000 less than in the 1991-92 budget. Oxnard College, which has traditionally been underfunded, will receive $11.9 million, about $700,000 more than it got last year.

The district office budget will be set at $4.4 million, and another $3 million has been earmarked for districtwide services.

Officials say they have been able to avoid reducing class offerings or laying off staff. Many vacant positions, however, will not be filled for some time because of funding constraints, and everyone must work harder to make up for the gap, said Jeff Marsee, vice chancellor of administrative services.

"About 84% of the budget is in salary and benefits," Marsee said. "You don't have to cut much more before you're into cutting people."

To avoid having a budget deficit, officials had to take about $500,000 from reserves, Marsee said. That leaves the district with about $1 million in reserves, which he said is considered too low.

"Financially we do not have a good safety net. We're not prepared for any surprises."

The district will spend the next few years building its reserves and taking a critical look at areas that traditionally lose money such as the student health centers and cafeterias, Marsee said.

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