State fails to pay for growing number of students

Rhys Alvarado

After an 85-day stalemate, the state has recently passed a budget that falls short of the funding needed for the resident enrollment growth at City College.

Despite City College’s six percent California resident enrollment surge, schools statewide are only eligible for 2.5 percent of growth funding, or $1.7 million.

“We want the students to go to class, but we have to look at what we can actually afford,” said vice president of Business Services Joe Sullivan.

The surge in enrolled students – without matching growth funds – means more work for admissions, custodial services and maintenance on campus.

“To teach, you need to be able to register, and you need people to clean the classrooms,” said Sullivan.

For now, City College Superintendent-President Andreea Serban believes this is a gap the school needs to fill to keep access open for students.

“At some point, if we continue to see this high demand in enrollment, we’ll have to analyze whether we can afford to grow,” Serban said.

More budget problems

Payments made to the school for January, February, and March are expected to be delayed. Those payments are expected to be made in the three months that follow.

“The state’s dealing with a cash flow problem by giving us our payments late,” Serban said.

The late payments pose problems on interest the school could collect.

Categorical funding

Just as expected, the school will receive the same amount of categorical funding as last year. However, because the school has faced a large student increase in residents, Serban told The Channels that administration is analyzing how many additional sections the school can support in the spring.

Cost of living adjustment

Amidst state budget woes, the school has also received an unexpected 0.68 percent cost of living increase that is effective next January. The adjustment will be applied to employee health and welfare allowances.

“Is something better than nothing?” said Sullivan. “Not really, this is just a tease.”

For example, the small increase materializes to about $4 a month for a single tax paying worker.

Hiring freeze lifted

In related news, the college is filling the 16 positions that it froze last June when the state called for a 2-percent cut in departmental funds.

Since then, 14 of those positions have been filled. Serban hopes to hire an information system specialist and a student program advisor after the incoming budget is audited.

Since July, the school had been running on it’s own “rainy day” funds. With $3 million left in the general fund, the state passed the budget just in time. Sullivan said that the school, which costs around $10 million a month to operate, would completely run out of resources in November if a budget was not passed.