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Budget cuts on the horizon


Pierce College and the other community colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) are going to face budget cuts in the fiscal 2011-2012 year.

No matter what.

“There are two scenarios,” said Kenneth Takeda, Pierce College vice president of Administrative Services. ¬†“One of the assumptions is that we’re going to get cut by at least 5 percent.”

In the best-case scenario, Pierce College will have its general fund budget cut by over $7.7 million.

That is the good news.

The bad news is what is being called an “All-Cuts Budget,” where Pierce and all other colleges in the LACCD will see a reduction of over 15 percent in the district’s final budget.

“We planned against the first scenario,” said Takeda. “It is apparent that there won’t be a special election in June, but all we have to go on now is what the state has told us.”

The special election refers to Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempt to raise taxes if voters would allow it, but he failed to get Republican support.

Whether the special election happens, a 5 or 15 percent cut is going to happen.

On April 6, 2011, the LACCD’s District Budget Committee had a meeting on the proposed tentative budget and how the cuts would impact the district in 2011-2012.

According to the proposed tentative budget for 2011-2012, the budget committee planned for both scenarios.

The document indicates that Pierce College will receive over $51.2 million in the case of the all-cuts budget.

In comparison, Pierce would receive almost $55.7 million if the budget were to be cut by 5 percent.

One way to help bridge the gap is by cutting the number of classes offered at Pierce.

“Around 200 classes [will need to be cut],” said Takeda.

These cuts would mostly affect winter and spring 2012 classes, since summer and fall schedules are completed.

Takeda confirmed that there will be no winter session next Jan. and will cut around 50 class offerings.

However, changes can be made to the fall 2011 schedule if the district does in fact get hit with the 15 percent cut.

Pierce College does have a surplus of funds to help soften the budget problem.

This year’s estimated surplus is an estimated $8.4 million, according to Takeda.

However, Pierce is not able to use all of that additional revenue.

“They don’t want us to use all of [the surplus],” said Takeda. “The standing rule is that the college can use up to 25 percent of the balance or $2 million, which ever is less.”

The district has not communicated if that rule will hold for the upcoming fiscal year.

nother way the LACCD and Pierce will be making up some of the revenue is increasing tuition fees from $26 a unit to $36 per unit beginning in fall.

“[The state] assumed that the $10 increase would generate an additional¬†$110 million in new revenue state-wide,” said Takeda.

But if an “All-Cuts Budget” is being implemented, the district is considering raising tuition by an additional $30, bringing the total to $66 per unit to absorb more of the hit on individual schools.

The LACCD is currently finalizing the tentative budget for the fiscal year of 2011-2012, which will be finalized at the end of May.

Gov. Brown will release a revised budget at the end of May, which will include a more accurate budget that includes the additional revenue paid through income and property taxes.

The extent of the cuts won’t be known until the final budget is adopted in early Aug. or Sept.



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