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‘Agonizing Decisions’ Are Made for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges Next Year, Says Schools’ Chancellor

Chancellor Cindy Miles says the school district is forced to cut almost 800 class sections and turn away 5,000 next year, and they’re preparing for even more.

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District is making more than 780 class sections cuts to their schedule next year, which school officials said will turn away nearly 5,000 students and reduce their summer school program to a bare minimum.

“We’ve had to make some agonizing decisions as we try to provide the best education to as many as possible with sharply limited resources,” said Cindy Miles, the district’s chancellor.

This comes as a result of an $8.1 million cut from the state and officials said the district plans to heavily reduce hiring, maintenance and supply purchases, in order to shrink overall benefits by $500,000.

The state’s reduced funding is in addition to the $15 million budget shortfall in the district’s 2010-11 operating budget of $104 million. Officials said the district, which receives 94 percent of its funding from the state, is currently operating with 645 fewer part-time employees, and 60 vacant full-time positions.

According to the schools’ enrollment records, nearly 12,300 students weren’t able to enroll in spring classes―an increase of 350 percent from last year.

Bill Garrett, president of colleges’ governing board, offered a ray of hope saying the district’s already conservative spending policies have helped protect it from having to decide on more severe spending cutbacks.

“We’re in a stronger position than other public agencies because we’ve frugally managed our dollars,” he said. “The only good news is that our policy of strategic fiscal stewardship has helped us protect core programs.”

But now that the measure seeking tax extensions is unlikely to appear on the June ballot, district officials said they are preparing for cuts to become even more drastic, especially if state legislature calls for an “all cuts” budget plan to address the remaining $12.5 billion California budget deficit.

Officials said if that happens, the district would lose a total of $12.9 million in state money.

“That would be a true budget Armageddon,” Miles said. “We would have to cut 1,000 classes, which would bring us down to 60 percent of the courses offered just two years ago.”

She said they’d also be forced to freeze programs altogether and cut even more part-time employees.  

“Worst of all, we’d have to destroy the educational hopes of more than 8,000 students,” Miles said. “We need all the help we can find to advocate with us to avoid this devastation. Our students are depending on us.” 

Journalism05 April 05, 2011 at 10:07 PM
My mom works at Cuyamaca and I hate hearing her worry about whether she has a job or not. Best wishes to the current and future students of Grossmont and Cuyamca Colleges.
Patti April 06, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Raising taxes is a knee-jerk reaction. Taxes can only be raised so much before there is a negative impact on the economy. It is not a fix-all. California is one of the highest taxed states in the nation. We must learn to cut back in appropriate places. Have austere cuts been made on the administrative side? On the state level, much work must be done to cut out-of-date programs, get rid of high-paid appointees, revoking public assistance to those who really do not qualify (non-citizens), revoking collective bargaining, etc. Spending must be reined in. I will never vote for a tax increase or to keep a temporary tax on the books.
MIke El Cajon April 06, 2011 at 02:44 PM
I',m a graduating student this coming June and in the past four years I have attended Grossmont and Cuyamaca, one thing I have always noticed is that three weeks into a new semester, half the class always drops out. The admin should plan accordingly with these obvious stats.

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