February 22, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

State Budget Crisis Hits Santa Monica College:

California’s budget crisis has brought unprecedented budget cuts to institutions that rely predominately on the state for their funding and Santa Monica College (SMC) is no exception. The crisis will require the College to make $6 million in cuts from its 2009-2010 budget.

SMC’s spokesman, Bruce Smith, explained that the College’s current 2009-2010 budget scenario is based upon the latest budget projections from the State Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee but the final budget won’t be adopted by the SMC Board of Trustees until September.

Smith emphasized that there will be “no cuts in programs and no lay-offs of permanent or full-time employees.” He added that the cuts would not be as severe as many of the cuts faced by the other community colleges in the state.

The cost-cutting measures include a hiring freeze on all but essential personnel, which will save an estimated $800,000. Another measure is a 15 percent reduction in contract services such as legal fees that will save $1.4 million. There are cuts in low enrollment and lower enrollment class sections that will total $2 million. Lastly, cuts totaling $1.6 million will be made to categorical programs such as Disabled Students.

However, more cuts still need to be made because the College will be facing a $1 million operating deficit in 2009-2010. The College will have to make approximately $1.14 million in cuts to compensate for the deficit and in order to maintain a reserve of about 7.5 percent. They want to keep their reserve above 5 percent because they are concerned about their finances for the 2010-2011 year.

SMC President Chui Tsang is “committed to a campus wide transparent effort,” noted Smith, to help make the $1.4 million in cuts. In a June 26 e-mail addressed to the College Community Tsang stated, “ We will continue to work through the summer on the budget issue as senior staff, managers, and departments seek ways to develop cost savings in their areas and to look at contracts that need to be reduced.”

Other community colleges have had to cut their summer programs and winter sessions because of the budget crisis but SMC will retain both programs for the 2009-2010 school year.

Smith also mentioned that SMC’s tuition might climb from its current rate of $20 per unit to $26 if the State approves the increase. He also mentioned that SMC receives extra tuition revenue from its out-of-state and international students. They make up about 10 percent of the College’s student enrollment. The amount received from the international students is higher than the amount from the out-of-state students.

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