Spring ’04 Remains Intact but More Cuts Are Feared

El Vaquero Staff Writer

The worst of Glendale College’s budget woes seem temporarily to have passed, as 90 classes are being re-instated to the spring 2004 semester, but more financial uncertainty could lie on the horizon.

Reversing the original plan to cut 105 classes from the semester, Vice President of Instructional Services Steve White returned the quota of classes available to spring 2003 levels. Major cuts were made during Spring 2003. White says the move is not final and with the state still grappling with a budget deficit of $14 billion, community colleges could still receive substantial cuts.

“Our ability to get growth dollars allowed us to add classes,” said White. Each year, community colleges receive money from the state that corresponds with the cost-of-living as well as change in school population.

A major fear among community college officials is the proposed spending cap, which would limit funds that community colleges receive under Proposition 98. The proposition, which was voted on by Californians in 1998, requires a certain amount of money to be allocated to K-12 schools and community colleges. Traditionally, 40 percent of the state’s budget has gone to education.

Gov. Schwarzenegger has been back-pedaling recently from his frequent October campaign promise to keep California’s school funding intact. Schwarzenegger has talked of temporarily suspending Prop. 98, saying in an interview with CNN Tuesday that the money would be temporarily needed to mend the state’s gaping budget discrepancy.

“Maybe have a suspension; some relief there so you can pull out of this next two years and then pay it back, maybe,” said Swarzenegger about Prop. 98 in a Dec. 10 article printed in the Los Angeles Times.

In order to cap the education-spending mandate, two-thirds of the state legislature would need to support it. The partisan deadlock in the state legislature is to blame for the cuts in education, Schwarzenegger has said.

Here on campus, it is “just a waiting game,” said White. The state’s proposed budget becomes available in February although school officials often have access to it by mid-January. According to White, some proposals being discussed involve decreased funding and even another tuition increase.

Depending on the size of the cuts, the school could have contingency reserves, said White.