Editorial: Crisis leaves Delta at crossroads

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To say the future of Delta College is at a crossroads is, well, an understatement.

Questions remain unanswered both locally and state-wide regarding the budget issues which in turn determine what we do and don’t have in the semesters to come.

Stuck between what seems a rock and a hard place, the only answer that has yet to be determined is the painful $36 per-unit dollar amount coming out of our pockets next semester.

The reality of the situation is that cuts are going to happen.

As a state, California is more than $80 billion in debt. As a proposal to begin to re-energize the state into recovery, Gov. Jerry Brown set forth a budget plan which marked for a $290-$800 million dollar reduction of funding within the community college system.

So where do we stand?

This number, through partisan bickering over a June special election which could determine the two most important factors within this community college crisis has yet to be decided.

If passed Prop. 98 will allocate a minimum percentage of state funding to education; along with a highly important tax extension will determine how much is cut. Our future remains up in the air floating atop a deficit gap of $510 million.

As a means to prepare, Delta’s Board of Trustees made the choice to adopt a middle of the road budget deduction plan of $8.2 million over a three year time frame. This number, however, is likely to change to $12.15 million in cuts if those two highly important ballot initiatives crumble, or perhaps a special election does not even happen.

More than anything, the general feeling of knowing little about our educational futures is fear for what in fact could result.

Aside from the anger students feel, the disappointment, or even understanding, as a community college many students already feel the burden of this country’s economic hardships. We are the single mothers, veterans, retirees, and students who perhaps couldn’t afford a four-year institution. For many of us Delta College is the only opportunity for a higher education.

Like the local retiree worried over Medicare and social security, the Delta student is clouded by the what-ifs that may potentially crumble their educational path.
An email, issued by the Public Information Office to the student body was in order to gain the input of us all.

Sent out March 30, with a deadline marked April 6, the notice involved a link to both a list of possible cuts as well as a survey for student opinions to be heard.

Among the 27 ideas read big ticket reductions implementing 11-month operational years with the elimination of summer school, retirement incentive packages, as well as eliminating 20 positions for the next three years-all of which near or go beyond the $2 million reduction mark.

Like it or not, as students and a community college system, Delta will change.

Class listings may shrink, Delta child care may suffer, parking could become more expensive or perhaps a favorite teacher retires.

These are the realities of a greater issue.

An issue of California’s that affects not only those strangers you might see on your local broadcast news.

No, these are our challenges that still seem more unknown then any one of us could have imagined for ourselves.