Community Colleges Can’t Take Anymore

Enterovirus D68
NBC 5 News

The state budget impasse has pushed California community colleges to the breaking point, the system's chancellor, Jack Scott, said in an unusually stark press release yesterday.

Community colleges are now short $840 million in operating funds because the state is deferring monthly payments that are due ot the systems campuses. Some colleges may be unable to meet payroll and cover operating expenses. The colleges are even turning away some students, and 41,000 community college recipients of Cal Grants (scholarships that can be used to pay for school fees, textbooks, transportation, housing and child care) have not received their fall grants because of the budget crisis.

Scott's statement:

“In the months since the state budget deadlock began, the California Community Colleges have been forced to survive by borrowing, freezing purchasing, delaying vendor payments and other drastic steps. Compounding the budget deferrals have been three consecutive years of budget cuts.  Our system would have naturally grown by at least 5.5% in 2009-10.  But instead, decreased funding caused the system to shrink by 4.8%.  We are turning away recent high school graduates and displaced workers because they do not have priority registration.  Some colleges have been forced to cut course sections by as much as 20% due to the cuts.  This is a ticking time bomb for California’s future economy.”

Such comments have deep impact because Scott is no alarmist. He's a former legislator, respected by both Democrats and Republicans. Scott is telling his former colleagues that, whatever the political realities, delay has its costs.

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