GCC OKs spending plan sans budget

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — With the all-important state budget still up in the air, Glendale Community College trustees approved an $82-million spending plan Monday that will require adjustments and cuts throughout the year, officials said.

The budget needs $1.2 million more in cuts to be balanced, said Ron Nakasone, the college's vice president of administrative services. Spending approved Monday also relies on assumptions that may or may not make it into the final state budget.

"The big thing is that there doesn't look like there's any sense of urgency at the state level," Nakasone said. "Community colleges don't get any money until the budget's signed. When people don't think it's important, it's like community colleges aren't important."

Board of Trustees President Tony Tartaglia said the college was holding on until the state takes action. Further cuts would force college officials to negotiate deeper concessions from college employees, who have accepted salary cuts and furlough days to contribute to a balanced budget in previous years.

"We have done our best, good-faith effort of establishing a budget based on the information we currently have," Tartaglia said. "Unfortunately, that does not include an approved budget from the state of California."

College labor groups have signaled their willingness to help balance the budget, but they've also asked to hold off on any other potential concessions until the state budget is finalized.

"We are tied to what is happening in Sacramento," said Ramona Barrio-Sotillo, president of the faculty union. "Until that budget passes, the [college] has their hands tied."

College officials have cut costs in some areas, like energy use, and have identified other sectors, like international students, where additional revenue could be generated. But the institution does not determine tuition or the $26-per-unit fee students pay to enroll in classes. Those decisions are made by the state Legislature.

Trustees balanced last year's budget on one-time solutions, such as spending reserve dollars and implementing a hiring freeze, which continues this year.

On Tuesday, Nakasone said he learned the college would get $77,000 from federal stimulus money that could plug budget holes. He also said negotiations with employees would likely involve the more than $600,000 rebate from the college health-care item. What that funding goes toward is negotiable, he said.

"That'll help with the $1.2-million [hole]," he said. "Every little bit helps."

FOR THE RECORD: This corrects an earlier version that stated college tuition fees were set by the state chancellor's office. They are set by the state Legislature.

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