The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District is making more than 780 class sections cuts to their schedule next year, which school officials said will turn away nearly 5,000 students and reduce their summer school program to a bare minimum.
“We’ve had to make some agonizing decisions as we try to provide the best education to as many as possible with sharply limited resources,” said Cindy Miles, the district’s chancellor.
This comes as a result of an $8.1 million cut from the state and officials said the district plans to heavily reduce hiring, maintenance and supply purchases, in order to shrink overall benefits by $500,000.
The state’s reduced funding is in addition to the $15 million budget shortfall in the district’s 2010-11 operating budget of $104 million. Officials said the district, which receives 94 percent of its funding from the state, is currently operating with 645 fewer part-time employees, and 60 vacant full-time positions.
According to the schools’ enrollment records, nearly 12,300 students weren’t able to enroll in spring classes―an increase of 350 percent from last year.
Bill Garrett, president of colleges’ governing board, offered a ray of hope saying the district’s already conservative spending policies have helped protect it from having to decide on more severe spending cutbacks.
“We’re in a stronger position than other public agencies because we’ve frugally managed our dollars,” he said. “The only good news is that our policy of strategic fiscal stewardship has helped us protect core programs.”
But now that the measure seeking tax extensions is unlikely to appear on the June ballot, district officials said they are preparing for cuts to become even more drastic, especially if state legislature calls for an “all cuts” budget plan to address the remaining $12.5 billion California budget deficit.
Officials said if that happens, the district would lose a total of $12.9 million in state money.
“That would be a true budget Armageddon,” Miles said. “We would have to cut 1,000 classes, which would bring us down to 60 percent of the courses offered just two years ago.”
She said they’d also be forced to freeze programs altogether and cut even more part-time employees.
“Worst of all, we’d have to destroy the educational hopes of more than 8,000 students,” Miles said. “We need all the help we can find to advocate with us to avoid this devastation. Our students are depending on us.”