Looming budget cuts may depend on Prop 30


Info. graphic created by Lauren J. Mapp, Editor-in-Chief

Lauren J. Mapp, Editor-in-Chief

California’s Community College system has been hit with $809 million in budget cuts over the past three years, and if Proposition 30 should fail in the 2012 election, the budget will face another $338 million cut in the middle of the 2012-2013 academic school year.

Proponents of Proposition 30 – a tax initiative that will be on the California electoral ballot this November – believe that this measure will be the only way to prevent further budget and course section cuts to the CCC.

The tax increase that will occur if Prop 30 passes will be seen in both a .25 percent sales tax increase for the next four years and increase to income taxes for seven years. Income tax increases for single tax payers earning more than $250,000 per year or couples filing joint returns, earning more than $500,000 per year for seven years, will be enacted if Prop 30 passes.

The budget that the CCC is operating under at present is based under the hope that Prop 30 will pass.

“For education as a whole, it assumes that $5.9 billion are contingent on the passage of Prop 30,” said Dan Troy, CCC Vice Chancellor for fiscal policy. “That’s $250 million each UC and CSU, that’s about $5.4 billion for K-14 education.”

Another tax initiative that will be on the ballot to support education is Prop 38, which will only benefit K-12 education budgets. If both Prop 30 and Prop 38 pass, the initiative with the greater number of votes will be implemented.

“There is another ballot initiative out there that also raises taxes and will support education funding, that’s Proposition 38,” Troy said. “I think it’s very important to understand that Prop 38 does not provide any funding for community colleges – that goes only to K-12 funding and for early childhood education. If Prop 38 prevails and Prop 30 does not, community colleges will be hit by the devastating trigger cuts.”

CCC schools have experienced increased class sizes and a 24 percent decrease in course sections over the past three years, and if the budget cuts do occur, this will be most evident in the further decrease of class sections. San Diego Mesa College, as an example, would lose about 700 course sections should this measure fail.

“[Course section cuts are] the only mechanism that the colleges have to directly control expenditures to any real extent,” said Erik Skinner, Interim Systems Chancellor. “When their funding is cut, they have to reduce the number of course sections.”

Community college campuses across California are also experiencing the budget cuts in the form of part-time faculty layoffs and increased classroom sizes.

“In order to balance [out budget cuts], we get classroom sizes increasing in order to compensate, which inherently lowers the quality of your classes,” said Rich Copenhagen, CCC Student Senate president.

Opponents to Prop 30 believe that it is a temporary fix to a greater underlying problem in California’s state budget. They also fear that the money might not be specifically used to benefit the school system and that it may be allocated to other sections of California’s budget, according to stopprop30.com.

Info. graphic created by Lauren J. Mapp, Editor-in-Chief