Glendale College Trustees Approve 2003-2004 Budget

LALA ASHEGHIE
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The Glendale Community College Board of Trustees approved a budget for the 2003-2004 fiscal year on Sept. 22. Executive Vice President of Administrative Services Lawrence R. Serot presented the details of this finalized budget, focusing on the allocation of one million dollars to a general reserve fund that can be accessed in case of emergencies.

In the coming year, then, the Board must anticipate similar economic upsets. The unstable political climate in Sacramento stands to affect the district’s financial standing. Two lawsuits are currently pending against the state of California, the outcomes of which will affect the government’s allowance to Community Colleges. Additionally, the results of the elections in November, as well as the announcement of the new governor’s budget in February 2004, will also influence the college’s budget.

In order to achieve the proposed reserve as part of a balanced budget, revenues have been reduced by a million dollars from other accounts and transferred to this general reserve.

Also, administrators have been asked to suffer either a cut in salary or benefits as high as 4.5 percent to help offset funds, although the final percentage will most likely be closer to three percent. Vice President of the Board of Trustees Victor I. King acknowledged and thanked these employees for understanding the need for such cutbacks without any complaints.

“It’s really a testament to the leadership of the administrators that we have here,” noted King.

Ultimately, the one million dollar general reserve recommended by Serot falls well within a reasonable range when the reserves of neighboring districts are taken into consideration. Of forty California community college districts, two maintain reserves of less than 3 percent of their budget; five (including GCC under this proposed plan), carry reserves between 3 percent and 3.99 percent; and the remaining colleges carry percentages of 4 and higher.

Although the finalized budget including the general reserve was approved in Monday’s meeting, its efficiency rests on such factors as employee negotiations and state politics.

For the time being, Serot admits that “this is a really lousy budget. But it represents what we feel to be the best that we can do with the resources available to us while we protect the instructional program and our direct student services.”