District board approves proposal to return funds to colleges

The Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees approved a nearly $10 million increase in funding for its nine schools at its Wednesday meeting.

The funds will come from the LACCD’s Contingency reserve, according to the meeting’s agenda.

Mona Field, former president of the Board, said she is cautiously optimistic.

“You can safely say things are getting better, but I don’t think it’s enough yet,” Field said.

Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, president of West Los Angeles College, said this fiscal adjustment will allow the colleges to again offer services that were cut back.

“This will allow the colleges now to start growing our offerings and to start rebuilding some of the programs that we had cut back on in the pre-Proposition 30 days,” Abu-Ghazaleh said.

Although Proposition 30 passed last Nov. and kept school’s state funding from plummeting, trustee Nancy Pearlman said the reallocation of funds isn’t directly connected.

“Proposition 30 gave us enough money so that we didn’t have to make more drastic cuts. It is not a long-term solution,” Pearlman said.

Proposition 30 was a relatively close call at the polls, and Abu-Ghazaleh said the LACCD put away some money before the votes were tallied.

“Last year, we were in very difficult fiscal times,” Abu-Ghazaleh said. “The Board chose to increase our budget reserves at the district level to make sure that, if Proposition 30 did not pass, there would be sufficient reserves to keep our colleges operating.”

Field said that the Board’s goal is to get as much money as possible to the colleges.

“These funds will basically help us operate at a manageable level,” said Abu-Ghazaleh. “It also means that we can start looking at some of the students success programs, and maintenance issues that we have been skimping on.”

LACCD schools are also looking into hiring full-time faculty, according to Abu-Ghazaleh.

“There will be more student access when it comes to classes, and student services like counseling, tutoring, financial aid and staff,” said Field. “All the things that they were squeezing and cutting back, we can now enhance again hopefully to enough.”

The conservative approach the Board took to addressing the budget cuts helped the District get through some difficult years, according to Abu-Ghazaleh.

“We don’t want to cut classes,” said Pearlman. We want to be sure that people can get the classes they need to get through the programs fast and efficiently.”

Abu-Ghazaleh said students can stop worrying about their school’s budget.

“Now we are starting to see signs of a rising economy, which brings with it a rise in community college funding,” said Abu-Ghazaleh. “So we have to start thinking on how to build the programs so that they are there when we can start serving more students again.“

Pearlman said the schools’ funding is dependant on the state’s decisions.

“There could be some more adjustments. Which direction [they go in] probably depends on how the state budget goes,” Field said. “On budget, we don’t get anything certain . . . It is always year-to-year.”

Upcoming adjustments to the state’s budget will be announced in late July, according to Field.

The current redistribution of funding according to the Board of Trustees agenda will go as followed for each LACCD campus:

  • City: $1,431,448

  • East: $2,164,559

  • Harbor: $661,269

  • Mission: $599,213

  • Pierce: $1,425,617

  • Southwest: 499, 674

  • Trade-Tech: $1,192,075

  • Valley: $1,278,391

  • West: $692,921

For more information about the LACCD, visit laccd.edu.