Budget mystery causes hiring freeze

Ariel Lassiter

With the state withholding information about the budget for the nine community colleges of the Los Angeles Community College District, Pierce College has to hold off on hiring any new teachers.The number of positions is limited based on retirement numbers dropping, according to Pierce College President Robert Garber.Currently, Pierce has a stable budget amid construction rehabilitation projects and advancements taking place on campus.”The Pierce budget is solid. We are well-balanced,” Garber said. “There is money needed to hire new teachers in different departments. That money is needed from the state and has not been made available yet.”The budget for the academic school year is decided upon in January by state legislature. The legislature decides where money should go throughout the state. “At this point, we are not clear on where we stand with state budget as far as the extra money needed to pay new teachers,” Garber said. “We will not be cutting out any of our present academic programs and classes from our catalog to bring in new classes.”According to Garber, the budget cuts that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has forecasted for the state of California are putting a damper on how fast new teachers can be hired. It may be a while before the college can actually bring in new teachers for new classes that are to be added to the Pierce class schedule. Math, media arts, horse science, horticulture, computer applications and office technologies, athletics and child development are the seven departments that need to have teaching slots filled.”We can’t control the budget because it is not in our hands,” said Academic Senate President Tom Rosdahl. “It’s in the state’s hands.”According to Rosdahl, the Pierce College Council is set to fill six positions, which the chancellor has already approved to start in the Fall 2008 semester. There are three deans retiring, which will help to keep the budget steady when new teachers come aboard.Since the budget is a mystery for the 2008-09 academic year, the PCC has tightened up on expenditures which could waste excess money.”The future looks bright for Pierce College,” Garber said. “We have been one of the more fortunate community colleges out of the nine in LACCD to have as many amenities as we do. I’m sure we’ll be provided with what we need in due time.”