College spared from cuts

Kellie McCown

The effects of the passing of the infamous Proposition 30 last November, a measure that stopped further crippling budget cuts to hit classrooms from kindergarten to colleges, can be seen across California this 2012-2013 school year, including at Los Medanos College.

LMC has been spared from further cuts, and could continue to see positive growth in the 2013-2014 school year with more new construction and bigger state budgets.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris praised Gov. Jerry Brown in a press release Jan. 10 for including in his proposed 2013-2014 budget additional funding for California community colleges, and for his leadership and enthusiasm in getting the thousands of students who were turned away from higher education in 2012 back into the classrooms.

“Governor Brown’s leadership in passing Proposition 30 means California community colleges can begin to make room for some of the hundreds of thousands of students who have been shut out of our system due to recent funding cuts,” Harris said in his press release. “This budget represents a good start toward financial recovery for our system. The governor and voters deserve credit for beginning this overdue reinvestment.”

For LMC, this means that the huge looming budget cuts that would have resulted in cut class sections resulting in more over crowded classrooms resulting in turning away more students has been put to a halt, in addition to having more funding available to add more sections to the Spring semester as a “late start” option.

“The improvements are largely that we won’t have to further reduce course offerings based on the reductions that would have taken place if PROP 30 had not passed.” Explained LMC Vice President Kevin Horan. “We are funded based on Full-Time Equivalent Students (FTES) and with the passage of PROP 30 our funding base has been increased by approximately 1% to 7,600 annual FTES. Due to a combination of the slight increased funding base and an unexpected drop in our schedule productivity, we will need to add approximately 30-40 sections in the Spring to meet our funding base. These additional sections will be offered as a late start option.”

The governor’s budget would provide $197 million more to go into the college system during the 2013-2014 school year, allowing the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to decide the best way to allocate these funds into the districts. State wide nearly 500,000 students were turned away from colleges during the past four years will be welcomed back again.

The additional funds will leave colleges in less debt, enabling them to better meet the needs of students, leaving them more prepared for an economy that is increasingly demanding of college educated workers.

In terms of the students who were unable to get into classes at LMC, Horan says that the college is doing everything they can to welcome back those who were turned away.

“We are doing our best to let students know that we have open seats and we will have additional open classes coming up,’ Horan said.