New budget formula presents funding issues

Potential loss of $1.275 million

Marc Lopez, @KaptainMarc

The Contra Costa Community College District is currently advocating for an extension on the implementation of a new budget formula.

The changes were discussed among Los Medanos College faculty and staff in the 14th annual budget forum that occurred Monday, April 22nd. The forum featured Chancellor Fred Wood, Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Huff and Associate Vice Chancellor Jonah Nicholas who all spoke about the new formula.

In the forum, faculty was informed that enrollment is estimated to shorten by 1.2 percent for LMC alone. That percentage is roughly 94 students loss out of LMC’s full-time equivalent students goal which is a total of 7,951. That shortfall is equivalent to $1.275 million in losses, which could potentially mean cuts in faculty and programming.

The current budget formula, Senate Bill 361, allocates $5,151 per credit for every FTES in the fiscal year 2017-2018. But with the new budget formula, called the Student-Centered Funding Formula, the previously mentioned number dramatically decreases to $3,856 per FTES in fiscal year 2019-2020. The new formula is tethered to State Chancellor Oakley’s “Vision for Success” initiative.

The SCFF formula is a point incentives-based formula where if schools reach several metrics, they will receive a point. Each point is equivalent to $455. The incentives relate back to student completion of degrees, classes and certificates.

If a student completes an Associate degree, the college receives a total of three points worth $1,365. Completion of an ADT gives the school four points worth $1,820. Credit Certificates of 16 units or more equals two points worth $910. Completion of nine career technical education units equates to one point. Transfer to a four-year is 1.5 points worth $683. The completion of transfer math and English classes are two points worth $910 and the attainment of a regional living wage is one point.

Wood is trying to lobby for an extra year of a “hold harmless” which would give more time to make changes to the new formula.

“I think that’s fundamentally a flaw for a funding formula. It should’ve recognized different costs of living, different regional needs and challenges and it didn’t do that,” said Wood. “So I stepped back from getting into much of the details of what we can do immediately to help match those metrics and try to say let’s challenge those metrics a little bit.”

With the hold harmless in effect, some faculty believe that there isn’t anything to worry about at this moment.

“I think it’s too early to tell. We are funded through taxpayers and federal dollars so when we talk about us being beholden to our community,” said lab coordinator Eric Sanchez. “I think the biggest thing is our students the center [of attention] when we look at this new formula. Or our students becoming dollar signs.”

Chancellor Oakley will be visiting Contra Costa College on May 13. With this visit President Kratochvil and Chancellor Wood hope to meet with Oakley to discuss the formula.

“We are trying to have a meeting with him about specifically the effect on the Contra Costa Community College District,” said Kratochvil.