Dire district cuts dodged
Published: Monday, May 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 28, 2012 14:05
The district is cushioned from drastic effects proposed by Governor Jerry Brown’s budget due to the district’s basic aid status.
In January, Brown discussed a $9.2 billion cut to the budget, yet the budget proposal released on Monday, May 14 cut nearly doubled to $16.5 billion.
“The Governor’s revision is bad news for the state,” said Dan Troy, Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Policy for CCC’s. “There’ll be severe risk going into the new year.”
Brown is supporting the “Millionaires Tax” set for voting on the November ballot. If the tax initiative is not passed, the state’s community colleges sees about $305 million in cuts, but the colleges can gain $313 million if it is.
Since the district is funded by property taxes in the San Mateo County, the cuts that come from Brown’s new budget have little effect on the district budget and planning. This places the district in basic aid status.
Community colleges need preparation for a major cut, while general fund reductions do not impact basic aid districts, said Troy. All districts, regardless of basic aid, are struggling to align their budgets and survive cuts happening each year.
The SMCCCD will still have an eight million dollar operating deficit, said Executive Vice Chancellor Kathy Blackwood.
During a May 16 board of trustee meeting to oppose Brown’s cuts to preschool program a resolution was passed with unanimous support from all the board members. “Everyone agreed with it,” said Bailey Girard, student trustee.
The document urges Brown to reverse his decision to drastically reduce funding to California child development. It cites the fact that all programs but one would be shifted to county welfare agencies.
“The governor’s proposal places well over 1,000 early care and education professionals’ jobs at risk in San Mateo County,” according to the district’s resolution.
The board of trustees also voted to back California Assembly Bill 2591 that would require the state to backfill money that they underestimated for community college budgets.
Every year the state estimates how much funding a school district will get from property taxes and allots a budget accordingly. If property taxes fall short of the state’s predictions, the state will pay the difference, said Blackwood. This requirement already exists for K through12 schools but not for community college systems.
The board of trustees voted to support the bill even though the district is on basic aid and unreliant on state money. The board is ready to back anything that will help community college systems and its future generations, said Blackwood. Money from dissolved redevelopment agencies is also being used to offset the $300,000 cut to the childcare development center at CSM. California legislature decided on Feb. 28 to dissolve redevelopment agencies.
Now that redevelopment agencies do not exist, that money is going back to fund many budgets in the state, among them school program budgets.
“It is a new source of revenue,” said Blackwood.
Income from these dissolved redevelopment agencies can bring in two to three million dollars a year for the district, added Blackwood.