Town Hall Topics Include GCC Budget Woes

Tatevik Manucharyan, Staff Writer

Glendale Community College, along with the rest of the California higher education system, is drowning in the flood of the state budget deficit and the Sales and Income Tax Increase Initiative may be the only lifesaver in sight.

At the town hall meeting on May 29, Amir Nour, interim controller, began his update on the 2012-2013 GCC budget by saying that the state budget deficit has increased from $9.2 billion to $15.7 billion after the budget revise, released on May 14.

“It goes without saying that the state 2012-2013 budget depends on the tax initiative,” Nour said.

Community colleges will receive $313 million if the initiative passes, but will lose $295 million if it does not pass, Nour said.

Of the $295 million loss, GCC’s share will be $4.1 million in the form of mid-year budget cuts.

“When we lose the $4.1 million, then I’m afraid everything will turn upside down,” Nour said.

In developing the 2012-2013 GCC budget, the administration has to assume the worst: that the tax initiative will not pass.

With that in mind, Nour said that based on GCC’s revenue and expenditure for the 2012-2013 academic year, the college will face a $14.21 million budget deficit.

Among the various measures the administration plans to adopt in order to balance the budget is a 5.6 percent class reduction, roughly equal to 100 classes, said Mary Mirch, vice president of instructional services.

However, if the tax initiative does pass, some of the classes that were cut in the fall will be taught in the spring semester, according to Mirch.

Other measures used to balance the budget, such as pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs, are still under negotiation.

Together they are expected to result in $4.9 million savings for the 2012-13 GCC budget, Nour said.

Among other items discussed during the meeting was the search for a new GCC president.

The application period for the position of interim president closed on June 1, but they had several applicants as of May 29, said Donna Voogt, administrative dean of human resources.

“We expect this interim person to be here probably for the better part of the 2012-2013 academic year,” Voogt said.

At the board meeting on May 30, the board was to determine whether to use a search firm to recruit the permanent president.

In response to a question from the audience regarding the cost of the service, Voogt said that various search firms charge different fees.

“We’re probably talking in the neighborhood of $30,000 for the search for a permanent president,” she said.

Voogt cited several advantages to using a search firm instead of simply advertising the position.

“Because it’s such a high level and very important position, we need somebody who is going to really walk us through that, do a national search. Not just put the advertisements out there, but also seek out potential candidates for us. So there’s a lot more to it than just facilitating the process that we would normally do ourselves.”