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COC reductions hit $11 million

College cuts summer courses by about 20 percent even as summer enrollment numbers rise

Posted: June 22, 2009 10:06 p.m.
Updated: June 23, 2009 9:30 a.m.
 
College of the Canyons faces a budget reduction of $11 million for its 2009-10 fiscal year.

That drop is reflected in a tentative budget to be presented to board members Wednesday.

Based on Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger's May revision for the state's 2009-10 budget, College of the Canyons anticipates a $7.7 million reduction in funding from state sources, said Sue Bozman, college spokeswoman.

On top of that, the college plans for an estimated $3.3 million in expense increases involving utilities, health care costs and insurance, she said.

The combined reductions and expense increases are expected to total $11 million.

The reductions come as College of the Canyons, which operates under the auspices of the Santa Clarita Community College District, experienced a funding reduction from the state of $4.6 million from 2008-09.

During that period, College of the Canyons did not receive funding for more than 1,100 full-time equivalent students who attended the community college.

Serving that many unfunded students cost the college an additional $5 million.

The college has met the shortfall through a variety of measures, including using what it calls "strategic hiring" to determine which open positions should be filled, Bozman said.

The college is also taking a closer look at faculty and staff travel requests to determine how essential they are to college operations, Bozman said.

The college is not considering laying off full-time faculty at this time, Bozman said.

As part of the reductions, college officials decided to cut its summer course offerings by about 20 percent, Bozman said.

In determining which classes not to offer, college officials looked at which classes historically have a low number of students so that a minimal number of students would be impacted, she said.

"I think we were able to do this in ways that were effective and had the least impact that we could possibly have on our students," Bozman said.

Despite the reduction in sections, the community college has experienced a 12 percent growth in summer enrollment, Bozman said.

College officials say they won't understand the full impact of the state budget on their own budget until after the state's budget finally passes.

It could take a matter of months for them to understand the impact of the state's budget on them, officials said.

"We go based on the May Revise and then once (the state budget) is passed and settled, we do our adopted budget," Bozman said.

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