Delta Board plans to cut $8.2M over three years

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Determined March 15, the Delta College Board of Trustees voted to adopt the $8.2 million dollar budget cut scenario.

The middle ground to three options proposed by the Community College League of California; worst case scenario being $12.15 million and best case $5.1 million. This decision comes as an inevitable result of Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal for 2011-2012.

Planned to put into effect over a three-year period, the $8.2 million dollar number is a set, but not concrete amount for the next few years.

Depending on the outcome of both Proposition 98 -if funded will implement a minimum state budget percentage to fund education- and whether Governor Brown’s tax extension will make it to the June ballot, many state-wide political factors in which supply the outcome to Delta’s future are up in the air.

On the curtain tails of the board’s decision came the state legislative pass to increase unit fees by $10 dollars, making for $36 per-unit.

California is in an estimated over $25 billion problem. In an online address to the state March 21, Brown urges citizens to be informed about the possible outcomes that could result from his proposals.

He said, “There’s been a tendency to avoid reality…this is a matter of we the people taking charge and voting on the most fundamental matters that affect all of our lives.”

Outlined within the financial breakdown of the scenarios, the proposed budget choice reads an assumed $620 million reduction for the state’s community college system. This however comes with much uncertainty due to the lack of factors which have yet to be determined, allowing for the possible reduction numbers to lie between $290-$800 million.

Mike Hill, Interim Vice President of Business Services shares the designed strategy to have a slight, gradual impact over the three-year period. As of now the outlined 2011-2012 reduction is $1.8 million, with $2.8 million and $3.6 million following in the years after.

“The impact on students, on program is lessened in the first year and we have some time to do a better job at planning,” Hill states.

He goes on to say that even if Prop. 98 fails and the extension is not received by legislature, which in turn would cause Delta to opt for the worst case scenario of $12.15 million, would have little effect on the 2011-2012 cost reduction.

With each scenario, California will be reducing the amount of Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES) they pay Delta College for, going from roughly 16,300 to 15,500 students. This work load reduction is a part of the $290 to $800 million dollar reduction within the community college system. As a result of lower FTES pay the amount of section courses may be limited.

With the Board of Trustee’s approval of scenario two comes Delta’s next action within developing a strategy of effectiveness given the harsh realities. As of yet no cuts have been made, or have been decided upon to meet the now $1.8 million reduction for the 2011-2012 year.

According to Matt Wetstein, Dean of Planning, Research, and Institutional Effectiveness; a survey of possible budget solutions was submitted March 18 via email to addresses of both campus business and campus announcements.

With a deadline of March 30, the survey will act as a starting point to create a list of specific financial deductions which will be in effect July 1, the start of the new budget year. Significant implementations could possibly start as soon as fall 2011.

Hill states, “The goal here is to get the easiest stuff first that has the least impact and gives us the most toward that target.”

As the next three years are critical for Delta’s budget, Mike Hill shares that if Delta can hold an efficient planned reduction of spending and end with a balanced budget and a small reserve, we as a college “would have survived the worst crisis in [California] community college history.”