Guild News: "Proposition 30 is Not the End"
by Isabelle Saber
The passage of Proposition 30 last month brought some much-needed relief to our campus. Thankfully, we are now able to ward off dismissals of classified staff, select administrators, and adjunct faculty. More importantly, we can abandon the idea of eliminating several hundred sections from our course offerings, a decision the would have been essentially imposed upon us by the state through a reduction of our workload.
In laymen's terms, "workload" determines the maximum number of funded, full-time equivalent students (FTES) for which each community college is eligible. The FTES generated beyond this pre-set workload and a modest growth cap (also calculated by the Chancellor's Office) receive no funding from the state. In other words, the marginal cost of educating additional students would have to be borne entirely by the District. As much as we would like to, we do not have the luxury of expanding our offerings beyond our workload/growth ceiling; we simply cannot afford to do so with no state funding to offset the cost of each additional class.
Many individuals were instrumental in educating our constituents and bringing an impressive victory to the California Community College system: the coalition between CFT and the Governor proved to be a successful partnership at the state level. Closer to home, we reaped the benefits of the Board of Trustees, the administration, faculty, classified staff, and students working in concert toward a common goal. Together, we were able to pass one of the most progressive tax measures in California's history.
Are we out of the woods? The answer is NO. Proposition 30 has temporarily stopped the hemorrhaging of K-14; however, it does not bring an influx of additional funds into the system. Locally, we have managed to stave off additional mid-year cuts to our budget and to maintain our workload; however, we continue to operate at a deficit that should be addressed in both the short and long terms. We still need to heal the wounds caused by multiple years of underfunding and reductions to community colleges.
During the weeks preceding the November election, administrative, classified, faculty, and student leadership held a series of meetings to determine areas in which additional savings could be realized. This group, with the participation of many stakeholders, generated a list with the understanding that some of the proposals would be explored and subsequently implemented regardless of the passage or failure of the tax proposition. The Guild continues to pursue these proposals in order to realign the District's expenditure with the new fiscal reality of education in the state. We simply cannot continue to balance our annual budget by expecting salary reductions from employees of the college.
We still have a challenging period ahead of us, albeit one that is less daunting than the restrictions Proposition 30 would have brought to K-14. By working together, we may reach fiscal viability once again while working toward a more permanent solution to education funding in California.
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