Anxious -- That's how the mood was described Tuesday among students and leaders of community colleges in our San Diego and Imperial Counties, now that the Governor has laid out his revised budget providing more money for education, the next question is will the budget pass?
And even if it does pass, how much will it mean to our community colleges? A glimmer of hope, is how they described the move by the Governor.
"We still have a number of students concerned about the budget because of the current ambiguity of it," said Nick Serano, an official at Southwestern Community College
Students and leaders of the nine community colleges in San Diego and Imperial Counties say they are already hurting from budget cuts over the last three years.
Community colleges are two-year institutions for job training and a launching pad to four-year universities and colleges; they have turned away an estimated 140,000 students statewide in 2009- 2010 due to course reductions.
Even under the May revise, students will pay an extra $10 per unit fee increase, from $26 to $36.
Tuesday they met in support of passing the Governor's budget, fearing the alternative.
"In short, if we were to face an all cuts budget we're discussing today, it would be nothing short of an educational Armageddon for our institutions our students and communities," said Cindy Miles, Ph.D., Chancellor Grossmont-Cuyamaca. "We support the governor's plan that relies on both cuts and revenues and we urge the California legislature and citizens of California to do the same."
Under the revised budget, the Governor allocated $350 million to reduce $961 million in deferred funding that has taken place over the years. The chancellor of the California Community Colleges said, "this will give our colleges badly needed resources"
But leaders say there is still uncertainty as to how that money could be spent, and whether it could translate into more classes for students.