With news of the states unplanned budget cuts, Yuba Community College District administrators are looking at ways to offset the loss of more than $760,000.
Gov. Gray Davis vetoed $98 million dedicated to maintenance, repairs and instructional equipment for the state’s 108 community colleges when he recently signed the state budget. This means that funding for re-roofing the 700 building on the Marysville campus and replacing gas lines at the Marysville campus will have to wait.
College President Stephen Epler said, “This veto was a complete surprise to virtually everyone. We all assumed these funds were ongoing and we have planned accordingly.
This pulls the rug out from under critical deferred maintenance and our plans to modernize classroom equipment and technology.”
The district was counting on matching funds totaling more than $430,000 for the two projects. Although replacing the roof of the building could wait and a few more leaks develop, the district will have to find resources elsewhere to begin the replacement of the gas lines.
“Leaking gas lines do not care whether there is funding or not when they need to be replaced,” said Don Noblin, YCCD Director of Maintenance and Operations. Although the gas lines do not pose an immediate risk to students and staff, if current problems are not taken care of they will in the future.
Noblin said that funding will have to be taken from other district projects to take care of the problem. Also, more than $330,000 in funding for instructional supplies was ripped away from the district. This funding commonly goes for updating computer equipment, software for science labs and replacing outdated technical electronic equipment.
The $98-million was part of a plan by the state Department of Finance and Gov. Gray Davis to create a budget reserve of $2.6 billion. Community Colleges shared an overwhelming burden of the Governor’s vetoes. Of $554 million in vetoes, community colleges funding was cut by $126 million, nearly 23 percent of all cuts.
In the meantime, the Community College League of California is seeking a legislative bill to restore the cuts made by Davis, said Scott Lay, director of the state budget issues for the League. The league, which advocates on behalf of the state’s community colleges, hopes to have legislators introduce the bill when they return from their summer break August 20.
Community colleges receive less funding per student than the University of California and Cal State University systems and also less than kindergarten through 12th-graders. Neither the UC or CSU system was subjected to similar budget cuts. About 1.6 million students attend 108 community colleges statewide.