Projected budget looks better than usual


Irvin Trigueros

Jonah Nicholas informs the attending audience about next year’s college budget in the Library Community Room Monday afternoon.

Samuel Gonzalez

California’s budget analysts are predicting surpluses for the years ahead, which is good news for community colleges, according to Contra Costa Community College District’s budget forecast for the coming school year.

District Vice Chancellor Gene Huff and Director of Finance Services Jonah Nicholas presented the budget forecast for 2013-14 in the Library Community Room last Tuesday.

“The passage of Proposition 30 basically means status quo for the next five years,” said Huff, who added there might be extra money for community colleges in 2013-14, but no one will know for sure until the May revision of the governor’s budget plan.

The success of Proposition 30 last fall and other recent developments appear as bright spots for the future of community colleges, but there are still many issues to be ironed out at the state and local levels.

In district news, the Contra Costa Community College District fell short of its projected number of full time equivalent students.

Community colleges are funded based on the number of students a district projects for the coming year. If the school falls short of its projection, it has to pay the state back for the excess funding provided in advance.

The district expected to serve, and received, funding for 27,912 full-time equivalent students this year, but total enrollment fell short of that number by 838 FTES.

The number of FTES has fluctuated in the past few years as a result of the economy. Community colleges statewide saw an increase in attendance as unemployment rose. This spring, enrollment has dropped as the economy is beginning to improve.

With the possible increase in state funding to education as financial conditions improve, many college programs will be requesting increased funding.

Huff said that he expected the leaders of categorical programs such as DSP&S and ESL, which were hard hit by cuts over the past few years, will “come back fighting for some of the ground they lost.”

Nicholas said the Power Point budget presentation will be uploaded on to the district’s website on April 19.