Glendale Community College still antsy, despite improved state budget outlook

Glendale Community College officials this week welcomed Gov. Jerry Brown’s state budget outlook that for the first time in four years doesn’t include major funding cuts to higher education.

While the state budget isn’t likely to be approved until late June at the earliest, Ron Nakasone, executive vice president of administrative services for the college, deemed Brown’s proposal “a welcome change.”

Brown’s budget would provide $197 million more for community colleges in 2013-14, potentially giving Glendale enough resources to restore classes that have been cut over the past year due to funding shortfalls.

Just how many classes remains to be seen. The state board of governors overseeing the 112 community college-system must still determine how the money will be allocated.

“Once we find out what the allocation is, we can see what the growth is going to be,” Nakasone said. “I think it’s a good start.”

The expanded budget could also prevent more employee workload reductions. Earlier this year, about 100 Glendale Community College employees were forced to swallow one-month work reductions in an effort to cut costs.

“At least we’re facing the right direction,” Interim Supt. Jim Riggs said during the board of trustees meeting on Monday.

Still, some college trustees weren’t entirely optimistic.

Noting that Glendale Community College had barely avoided significant blows with the passage of Proposition 30 in November, trustee Vahe Peroomian pointed to a steep road ahead.

“Prop. 30 allowed us to avoid cuts that would have killed this institution,” he said.

He pointed out that the college now serves 25% fewer students than it did at its peak.

“At 3% growth, it’s going to take us 7 1/2 years to recover that dip,” Peroomian said. “So it’s not like we’re recovering next year.”

Another $179 million held up in deferrals during the recession would also be paid out to colleges in the next school year, under Brown’s budget proposal.

Nearly $50 million would be dedicated to energy efficiency projects and about $17 million would be earmarked for online education efforts.

Even so, trustee Tony Tartaglia also expressed concern.

“I think GCC has sustained several blows over several years and I think we need to move cautiously,” he said.

Glendale Community College officials will create a tentative budget in early July before making a final draft for 2013-14 in mid-September.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan


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