Academic Senate discusses budget cuts

Micah Davis

The Pierce College Academic Senate met on Feb. 11 to address a lengthy agenda, primarily concerning the school’s budget.The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) supported Proposition 92, an initiative that stood to financially benefit all nine LACCD campuses. Its failure to pass caused some to express apprehension.”The best we can hope for is to not lose money next year,” said Pierce President Robert Garber.Proposition 92 would have guaranteed stable funding for community colleges and K-12 schools and lowered community college fees to $15/unit per semester, while limiting future fee increases.Proposition 98, the initiative that currently allocates state funds to public schools, allows state officials to temporarily suspend the guarantee of a minimum level of state funding. Additionally, funds borrowed from the school budget, authorized by Proposition 98, have yet to be returned.Proponents of Proposition 92 argue that additional legislation is necessary to protect school funding.It is important Pierce is not “punished for trying to do Prop 92,” said Garber.Proposition 92 would have allocated a percentage of Proposition 98 funds to community colleges. Because the current initiative deals with K-12 schools in addition to community colleges, some fear backlash from their public support of the proposed initiative.”[Pierce] is looking for seven new hires, but the budget may not allow it,” said Pam Brown, a member of the Pierce College Council.Currently, Pierce is one of three LACCD campuses to exceed enrollment expectations for the spring semester and yet remains unable to hire new faculty until current teachers retire. Although the district-wide budget crisis forces all nine campuses to reduce spending, one senate member is confident Pierce will hire again.”Some of the stronger campuses, like ours, will be doing some hiring,” said Senate President Tom Rosdahl.