Board hopes for local tax funding; Parcel measure could aid budget

Trustee Steve Ngo addresses feedback at the Jan. 24 City Cikkege Board of Trustees meeting. Ngo said the college budget, which was discussed later in the meeting should not be balanced on the backs of students. PHOTO BY BRYCE ADOLPHSON / THE GUARDSMAN

By Essie Harris
The Guardsman

As California continues through a three-year recession, funds for City College are decreasing substantially, and as a result, administrators must decide how the school will cater to the ever-changing budget.

“Everything is on the table,” City College Trustee Steve Ngo said. “The board and the college will have to re-look where we are distributing our funds. Money will never come back and we have to accept that as a norm.”

City College is facing the largest funding cuts in the history of the San Francisco Community College system. There has been a 26 percent decrease to administration, the hiring process has been frozen and salaries have been cut up to six percent.

So far, the state of California has reduced City College’s budget by $9 million, and Gov. Brown has proposed additional cuts that could amount to more than $20 million. The board is working to find ways to avoid these possible funding reductions.

“It is vital to make sure this budget is not being balanced on the backs of students,” Ngo said. “We have a duty and responsibility to make use of our time on this board to help shape the lives of 100,000 students.”

The board approved a $50,000 fund to conduct a public opinion poll that will assess the support and opposition for a potential parcel tax on the June ballot. If the parcel tax is not approved City College will experience a $20 million shortfall.

“The core of City College is the educational programs that serve the students,” Chancellor Don Griffin said. “The government is asking us to re-evaluate that core and eliminate some of our priorities, such as arts and PE, but City College is not linear. We are not ready to compromise those priorities so we must go to a local level for funding.”

Whether or not the proposition passes in June, next year’s budget will require severe changes. The 2011-12 school year’s projected budget deficit will amount to somewhere between $17.5 million and $35 million, according to City College’s annual financial report.

“We are being smart about our cuts, but we must retool our college to be better equipped for students in the future,” Ngo said. “It’s time to rethink where our money is going and do business in a way that will have the least impact possible to deliver educational goals.”


The Guardsman