Thursday, May 21, 2009

California Community College Leaders React to Election

From a press release sent over last night:

May 19, 2009

California Community College Leaders React to Election
Cuts to community college budget will limit access for neediest Californians

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Now that it seems certain the ballot propositions have gone down in defeat, California Community College leaders are predicting students and the state’s economic recovery efforts will face dire consequences. Jointly, they have released the following statements -

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott – “Our community colleges are on the front lines providing real time solutions for millions of Californians. Many of our students are reeling from the shockwaves resulting from the global financial meltdown, high unemployment rates and a difficult job market. We’ve added more than 150,000 additional students this year alone and are serving 140,000 of them without any additional funding. As the chancellor leading our 110 colleges, it is my job to inform state leaders we simply cannot continue to be an effective safety net for displaced workers, train our nation’s nurses and firefighters and retool workers to serve in green jobs if the proposed cuts are enacted. As it stands now, our classrooms are full, waiting lists to get into classes are long and many students cannot access the courses they need to progress.

“Having worked in and around community colleges most of my life, I fear students will find themselves without options and ill prepared to meet our state’s current and emerging workforce needs.”

Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor Marshall Drummond -- “The recent preview of proposed budget cuts landed a devastating blow to the community colleges. The idea that the community colleges can cut $85 million from our current budget, weeks prior to the fiscal year ending, is not realistic. Extrapolating from the governor's numbers, the Los Angeles community colleges could lose up to $80 million, the equivalent of the entire operating budgets of two of our smaller colleges. It is simply not possible to dismantle our many contractual and institutional obligations in such a short period of time, while staying in line with state law and mandates.

“The amount of proposed cuts to programs such as student counseling, assessment and placement and career technical education would almost certainly eliminate opportunities for disadvantaged students and place them at an even greater risk. The ultimate result of these actions will be a lower quality of life in our most challenged neighborhoods and a severe decline in a well trained workforce.”

Los Rios Community College District Chancellor Brice Harris -- “We are very concerned for our students and our community. The proposed budget cuts for community colleges are the worst we have ever seen and would severely limit our ability to meet the educational and workforce needs of our region.”

San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll -- “San Diego is bracing to make additional cuts of enormous magnitude. Due to poor policy decisions made at the state level, we will be forced to consider reducing student access and the number of classes we offer our students, continuing our current hiring freeze, and making a wide range of reductions. I personally view this as tragic. This is a time when we should be expanding opportunities to assist putting people back to work and training students for a new economy and emerging vocations.”

City College of San Francisco Chancellor Don Griffin – “Today’s election results will make it impossible for City College of San Francisco to maintain its current levels of services and student access. Our district serves 105,000 students and if the budget scenarios recently unveiled are enacted our summer school enrollment will be reduced by up to 85 percent and our student services programs will be dramatically cut by as much as 50 percent. These services include admissions and enrollment, and disabled student programs. Major reductions in course offerings will also result in a loss of access for 10,000 students in our district. We will be forced to reduce our hours of operation and there will also be a 15 percent loss of part-time faculty and administrative positions.”

The California Community Colleges is the largest higher educational system in the nation comprised of 72 districts and 110 colleges with more than 2.7 million students per year. Community colleges are the largest workforce provider in the state and offer more than 175 degree and certificate programs in hundreds of fields such as, advance manufacturing, biotechnology, business and computer science. The system trains more than 70 percent of nurses and 80 percent of the fire, law enforcement and emergency medical technicians in California. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit


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