GCC faces up to $10M in budget cuts

Glendale Community College is facing at least $3.7 million in additional funding cuts next fiscal year under Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal, officials said.

The reduced funding could force another round of difficult decisions at the campus, which already saw employee concessions and program cuts last year.

“This will be the third consecutive year the college has been required to look at cuts while working to offer a quality educational experience to the increased number of students coming to GCC,” Supt./President Dawn Lindsay said.

Included in Brown’s budget are plans to slash $400 million from community college funding. The budget is contingent on the extension of current tax rates — enacted by the state Legislature in 2009 —in a special June election.

If the tax rates are extended an additional five years, Glendale Community College next year would see its budget shrink between $3.7 million and $4 million, said Ron Nakasone, executive vice president of administrative services. If the tax rates are rejected, the college would face a budget cut of $6.5 million to $10 million, he said.

Student fees will also increase to $36 per unit from $26 starting in July, Nakasone said.

“In the past, the state would borrow money or use one-time funds to balance the budget,” Nakasone said. “This year, they are looking at ongoing types of cuts. The cuts that they make this year will still be there next year.”

College officials have already begun strategizing about how they will balance the budget for the coming fiscal year, Nakasone said. Options on the table include extending the college’s hiring freeze, reducing the number of classes offered and negotiating with employee unions for reductions in pay and/or benefits.

The ongoing budget crisis is hampering the services the college is able to provide, and making it difficult to formulate long-term plans, said Tony Tartaglia, president of the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees.

“We understand that California is in a severe fiscal crisis, and that it is probably going to go on for some time,” Tartaglia said. “However, we need to make decisions for our college prior to a budget being enacted. We have to make decisions on faculty retainment, on building construction on the day-to-day operations of the campus.”

Last year, the college served 3,000 full-time students not funded by the state, he noted.

“We are trying to accommodate students as much as possible in these times when we are seeing double-digit increases in our student population,” Tartaglia said.

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