Impact of budget cuts emerge as Glendale Community College semester begins

The toll of budget cuts at Glendale Community College was front and center Tuesday on the first day of the fall semester, with frustrated students clamoring to register for fewer classes.

“It’s obvious that budgeting issues are the most challenging at every institution now,” said Board of Trustees President Armine Hacopian.

Glendale High graduate Hellen Makaryan began her first semester Tuesday enrolled in two classes — math and oceanography. She was on a wait list for three more classes.

“It could have been worse. At least I got some classes,” she said. “Some people didn’t even get any classes, so I’m glad.”

California Community College Chancellor Jack Scott had projected 7,200 students would be on wait lists at each campus statewide, a product of reduced funding that has forced administrators to make hard cutbacks and cramp already crowded registration lines.

“We do expect lines and frustrated students,” Hacopian said.

This fall, roughly 13,600 students enrolled for classes at Glendale Community College, according to Michelle Mora, director of admissions and records.

The number represented a continued decline in enrollment, which last year stood at 15,355. In 2010-11, it was 16,780. The 2009-10 year saw 20,056 students enrolled.

At last week’s Board of Trustees meeting, Ron Nakasone, executive vice president of administrative services, said recent enrollment figures had dropped 24% compared to past years.

“That’s like 1 in 4 students that we’re no longer serving that we were at our peak,” he said.

On Tuesday, 19-year-old Robert Lineaweaver fared relatively well, enrolling in three classes: Spanish, anthropology and political science. And he did so while managing to avoid landing on a single wait list.

“I didn’t necessarily get all the classes I wanted,” he said. “I had first-day registration, but the classes I wanted to get into — I looked, and they were already full. So I don’t know how the people coming in this year will be able to find anything.”

The Board of Trustees will decide on how to make $13 million in cuts to the budget this year on Sept. 10.

This spring, 500 classes could potentially be cut to save $2.5 million.

About 115 classified employees, such as computer technicians and secretaries, could work reduced hours.

If Proposition 30 doesn’t pass in November, officials have said another $1.2 million could be saved by laying off some classified employees and managers.

“Our faculty and staff have shown that they’re able to take their focus off their issues and put it on the students,” Hacopian said.

“We should never lose focus that our students are our wealth,” she added. “We will do everything we can so that we roll out the red carpet for our students."

-- Follow Kely Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan

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