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Pasadena City College in Pasadena, Calif.
Worst case scenario: Pasadena City College could lose up to $18 million in two years if voters do not approve a November initiative to raise taxes and the economy remains stagnant, university officials said Thursday.
In January the college was hit with $2 million in trigger cuts because of lower than expected sales tax revenues. Then the following month the college learned it would take another $2.85 million in surprise cuts from the state, said Juan Gutierrez, a spokesman for Pasadena City College.
"It's been pretty rough," Gutierrez said. "...In two months we lost nearly $5 million."
And that's on top of the $7 million the college lost in the 2011 budget, he said.
Community college fees, currently $36 per unit, are set by the state. Fees will go up to $46 in the summer. That's up from $26 dollars in 2011. But unlike the California State University and University of California systems, the revenues from those fees are sent back to Sacramento.
Tami Abdollah / KPCC
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott talks to students about the impact of the state's budget crisis on the nation's largest higher education system.
At a Pasadena City College town hall meeting today the head of the California Community Colleges spoke to about 250 students about the state's budget crisis and the "desperate situations" it has created for schools in the nation's largest higher education system.
The hour-long meeting with Chancellor Jack Scott covered a wide range of issues and seemed rather intimate despite its setting in the campus' Sexson Auditorium. With his warm Texan drawl and anecdotes, Scott tried to illustrate to students the importance of passing the tax initiative in November; how they should lobby to improve their education system; and the impact funding cuts have had on public education throughout the state.
A former legislator for 12 years, Scott urged students to to talk to their legislators and tell them what's going on in their schools. "Go to your legislators, and by the way, when a legislator says to you 'Oh, I love the community colleges and so forth, ask him or her how they voted on raising taxes...How about some money?"
A Los Angeles high school teacher has pleaded not guilty to charges she had sex with two students.
City News Service says 42-year-old Gabriela Cortez entered pleas Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court to six felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse. She's free on bail.
Cortez teaches Spanish at Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles but she was placed on leave after her arrest last month.
Prosecutors claim she had relationships with two male students at her Montebello home. The alleged victims were 16 and 17 years old at the time but are now adults.
Teachers, parents and supporters rally as the Los Angeles Unified School District board meets to consider budget cuts and layoffs.
A new report says California school districts need to change the way they lay off teachers.
The state’s Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) says the system now in place carries a high cost — in dollars, morale and teacher talent.
In the last four years, budget cuts have forced California school districts to lay off 32,000 teachers.
The Legislative Analyst says the process has significant flaws. Districts send out too many notices, which cost districts money, worry teachers unnecessarily and sink school morale.
According to the Office, districts spent $14 million last year on layoff-related costs.
The LAO recommends changing notices from March to June to better align with the state budget process.
In addition, the report says, layoffs should not be based only on seniority, because that can lower the overall quality of the teacher workforce.
Photo by Michele Markel Connors via Flickr Creative Commons
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott said today he will be asking the state Attorney General's Office for an opinion on the legality of a Santa Monica College program that will allow students to enroll in a selection of higher-cost classes starting this summer.
"The Chancellor's Office has previously indicated to colleges that we believe that step would be illegal," said Scott, speaking to a group of students at Pasadena City College today. "There was an attempt to change the law which failed last year, and now Santa Monica College has chosen to go alone and do it anyway. Frankly, we will seek an opinion from the Attorney General's Office as to whether or not that is legal or not. If it's legal then they can do it. If it's not legal then they cannot."
The plan was approved by Santa Monica College's governing board earlier this month to try and offset the effects of severe cuts to state funding and heavy demand. The college has had to cut 1,100 class sections, or roughly 15 percent of its more than 7,400 since 2008. This year their funding was reduced by $11 million and it is looking at another $5 million cut under Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget plan if a tax initiative is not approved by voters in November.