College bookstore outsourced

HB Independent

Some programs at Golden West College could have to cut back after a new bookstore contract allows the district to take revenue dollars that would normally be used to fund athletic, performing arts and academic programs.

The Coast Community College District, which also oversees Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa and Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley, consolidated its three campus bookstores in April, changing the route of bookstore revenues from the colleges to the district with no direction as to whether the money will go back to the students.

The district extended its contract with Follett Corporation, a national college bookstore company that serves OCC, to take over at Golden West and Coastline as a "short-term mitigation" measure to keep the Golden West bookstore from running a deficit next year, District Chancellor Ding-Jo Currie said.

The move channels any future bookstore revenue to the district, but where it will go, or what it will be used for, isn't clear.

"The plan is there is no plan," Currie said. "I think we said this is going to need consultation."

Golden West used to keep any revenue to help fund various programs on campus, including athletics, performing arts and the college newspaper, said Janet Huolihan, the vice president of administrative services.

The bookstore, which was run by the college, hasn't been making a profit as of last year, Huolihan said.

Programs have been asked to cut their budgets, while the college has stepped up to fund some programs out of its general fund, Huolihan said.

Despite the lack of revenues last year, the funds are a "big deal to the campus," and it is going to be difficult to cover the programs with the current budget cuts, she said.

David Salai, 27, Associated Students of Golden West College's president-elect, said he is on board with the bookstore outsourcing, which gives students a renovated and streamlined store and also introduces OCC's textbook rental program on the campus.

However, the loss of any future revenue could mean sports teams won't be able to get new jerseys or the mathematics department will have to do without extra tutors, Salai said.

Under Follett, the bookstore is expected to begin making money, and while the district is still figuring out what to do with any revenue dollars, Currie said administrators are looking into ways to "leverage" any profits that would make the best sense for all three colleges.

As the same time, the district is looking into whether the bookstore should be making so much money on the backs of its students in the first place, Currie said.

"Should we expect a bookstore that exists to serve our students need to be a profit center? Our goal is to give our students the lowest [priced] books possible," Currie said.

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