The budget for the California community college system is $149 million short.
College of the Canyons, a part of the 112 college system, will take a proportional share of the deficit to the tune of $1.9 million.
“The shortfall is a result of some shortfalls in the budget. Some assumptions were made about revenue. Those assumptions were incorrect,” said Eric Harnish, special assistant to the chancellor.
The budget cuts required will not affect spring classes since they’ve already started. Fall classes will also not be affected since that falls under the new budget which runs from July 1 to June 30.
COC is looking at a number of different options for the summer session.
“We’ll certainly be looking at what we can offer during the summer. Our goal through all of the budget issues we face lately is to maintain a high level of service to our service and community,” said Harnish.
The economic crisis has hit community colleges hard. Last year, the state legislature raised students’ fees from $26 per unit to $36 per unit. This summer and fall fees will increase to $46 per unit.
Despite the increases Harnish sees COC as a bargain.
“Through it all we’re the best game in town. Our tuition, even though it’s going up, it’s still the lowest of any community college in the nation,” Harnish said.
Harnish says the budget shortfall can be tied to misjudgment on property tax revenues.
“When the budget is prepared in Sacramento they use estimates to determine how much property tax revenue is going to be received. And so in this case the revenue estimates were high and the actual receipts came in below our estimates. And in turn created a shortfall,” said Harnish.
Harnish admits COC would like a bigger budget but they will face the challenge.
“The most important thing to keep in mind is there’s lots of great things happening at our college, despite the disappointing headlines,” Harnish said.