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College District Backs 5% Budget Increase

With scarcely a complaint from trustees, the Ventura County Community College District has adopted a tentative budget that will allow all three of its campuses to increase course offerings and reopen satellite campuses from Ojai to Newbury Park.

The $72.2-million budget--which trustees passed with little discussion at a Tuesday board meeting--is 5% larger than last year’s spending plan.

Trustee Allan Jacobs was the only critic of the proposal.

While praising the expenditure of more than $3 million on instructional programs, Jacobs called the unequal distribution of funds among the three colleges unfair.

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“We are not moving in the right direction by consistently giving more money to some colleges,” he said. “And if I don’t have assurances that something will happen [to equalize the funding], I might vote no.”

The board will vote on the final budget in September, after the state budget has been finalized.

Under the proposed budget for the 1996-1997 fiscal year, Oxnard College receives the most money per full-time student, $3,350. Ventura College is the second with $2,944. Moorpark receives $2,721 per student.

Past boards have given Oxnard College more money to help spur its slow growth rate.

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With only 800 more students than it had when it opened in 1975 and a 17% drop in enrollment in the past five years, trustees say the college needs more money than the others to attract students.

But Jacobs said giving the college more money hasn’t worked so far.

“For years we have given Oxnard College more money,” he said. “And I haven’t seen the growth. Money isn’t going to buy growth.”

At the direction of Chancellor Philip Westin, district staff members are developing a budget-allocation model for next year that may more evenly distribute money among the three colleges.

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