Adjunct Junction by Phyllis Eckler, Guild 2nd Vice President
Hard Times Are Here
As you probably have heard, the community college budget has hit another bump in the road this 2011-12 academic year. Student fee reimbursements for Board of Governor (BOG) fees waivers were not sent to the colleges. State property tax revenues have come in $179 million below anticipated amounts, leading to a loss of revenue to campuses. That throws Glendale College’s barely balanced budget for this year, some of which was achieved by salary cuts to faculty, staff and administration, into further disarray. In our district, the loss will be absorbed by having a negative ending balance, but that only postpones the pain to next year’s budget, because the reserves are getting low and cuts for next year are therefore in the planning stages.
The district is cutting course offerings. The summer intersession at GCC will provide only 120 class sections for students. These 120 course offerings have already been allocated to divisions. Many of these courses will be taught by full-time faculty who have first right of refusal for intersession courses. These faculty members are taking a cut in their intersession pay for this summer’s teaching and are ineligible to get unemployment benefits if they don’t work.
Fall semester will bring a 5% cut in class offerings (from the previous fall). These will clearly affect adjunct faculty, who are already suffering pay cuts and course elimination. Many of our Adult Ed/ESL teachers have lost positions working for the LAUSD system, and with our district’s cut in hours for substitute teaching, they are certainly experiencing financial hardship. The bias toward offering transfer courses, Career Technical Education classes, and basic skills classes further hurts part-time faculty who do not teach in those areas. It is with a heavy heart that I bring this news to you, but I feel that we need this information.
But why do we constantly have to cut courses desperately needed by our students? The answer is that if there is no money provided from the state budget we have no other choice. The fat has already been eliminated. Budgets for student workers, out-of-district travel, and purchasing were eliminated this spring; hiring has been kept to a minimum since the massive wave of retirements two years ago; salary cuts have been implemented, and despite raises in student tuition fees, there is still not enough money to support the present course offerings and balance the budget.
What can you do? The allocation of money within the state budget is limited by required mandates that require support to education, prisons, and other programs. The leftover discretionary spending leaves many competing interests vying for support. Your voice is important and does have an impact. We urge you to make your voice heard by going to the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (www.faccc.org) and clicking “click here” under “Point & Click/Online Letter Writing.” Once on the page that has all the legislative bills, the “click here” requirement will allow you to put in your name and address so that the program can locate your local legislator and also fill your name and address into a pre-written letter. Then you can choose to send e-mails to the next committee to hear the bill, your legislator, or the governor about the 2011-12 budget backfill, AB852 Part-time Reemployment Rights, or other bills you see there. Point and click makes the whole process really easy.
You can also help gather signatures for the new merged tax initiative brokered between the governor and CFT. If this initiative passes it will present a new source of tax revenue to support educational funding in the state. The petitions need 1 million signatures by the end of April to make it onto the November ballot. With this time crunch in place our Guild needs all the help it can get in gathering signatures. If you are interested in circulating petitions, please call the Guild office at extension 5395 or e-mail email@example.com.
SAVE THE DATE: An “Applying for Unemployment Benefits
Workshop” will be held at Glendale College on Saturday, June 2 from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. in the Los Robles Dining Room. No need to RSVP.
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