California community colleges will face more class cuts, staff layoffs, and possible removal of summer school in wake of a startling $149-million budget loss. The state has over 100 community colleges – all of whom reported low revenues for the current fiscal year as more financially strapped students’ fees are waivered and financial aid increased. Low property tax revenues also fell short.
The news struck students hard just as spring session began, and sparked protests at Pasadena City College. College President Mark Rocha tried to address protesting students. The college faces a budget reduction of nearly $3 million. An already infuriated student body protested class reductions and have long complained about the administration’s poor service.
On February 14, PCC declared it would cut 96 class sections and wouldn’t rehire some retirees who were scheduled to continue classes. In reality, around half of those class sections were cut, but that didn’t appease students. Students say the cuts will delay graduating on time, but President Rocha tried to reassure them, saying they will receive priority enrollment.
Students have listed demands including restoration of all classes and prioritizing funding classrooms over construction, among others.
What are the realities of the budget shortfall on students? How will colleges deal with the reduction? Does the state have plans to remediate the situation? If so, what are they? If not, what do they anticipate?
Mark Rocha, President of Pasadena City College
Jack Scott, Chancellor of the California Community Colleges
Hanna Israel, Vice President of Sustainability, Associated Students of Pasadena City College
Roger Marheine, English Professor and President of the PCC Faculty Association