Mesa fixes budget by increasing classes

Alec Fernandes

Mesa College substantially increased the number of classes this semester with additions mostly in transfer level subjects. Around 150 sections have been added so far with more to come.

Math, English, ESL, and other general education courses took priority over vocational studies since they are of higher demand. Classes have been increased across the board to balance the school’s budget; community colleges in California are required to spend at least 50% of funding on instruction.

“The majority of funding comes from the state, through the chancellor who divides the money among 112 community colleges,” said Tim McGrath, the Vice President of Instruction, “and with that money comes certain guidelines to justify school spending.”

Prior to this semester Mesa College had apportioned more money to student services than to instruction, violating the state’s 50% rule. The school plans a steadily balanced increase in classes to fix this discrepancy, hopefully adding a total of 472 sections over the next two years.

Thanks to a budget surplus acting as a safety net, Mesa’s student services have not been greatly affected by the shift in funding. However the administration is now facing another problem in deciding where to put all these new classes.

“The construction projects that we’re putting in impact the campus. so I was down about 30 rooms going into the semester, needing other places for these extra classes,” said McGrath.

New portables have been set up to address this issue, with the addition of ten more bungalows in Modular Village planned for September. Further construction on campus has been prioritized based on student accessibility. Modifications to the center of campus have been organized to minimally affect students and will be carried out later this semester.

The increase in classes will also serve the growing population on campus. More students are investing in their futures by getting a degree in the wake of the recession, and this stretches Mesa’s budget even thinner as the college tries to accommodate new arrivals. Due to the state’s financial deficit, schools are receiving minimal funding to supplement this increase in enrollment.

California has put a cap on extra funding for community colleges despite the rise in full time enrolled students. The state has offered a 2% increase in funds to pay for additional students, but cannot give more money due to the recovering economy.