” I got a letter in the mail that one of the classes I need for my major was cancelled, and that left me needing to find another class to take its place, but couldn’t get into the lab class I needed because it was too full,” said Keri Burgess, Yuba College Sophomore. “As a student, this is really annoying me because classes I need are all too crowded.”
Burgess isn’t alone in her frustration.
Overcrowded classes have been an issue for a large number of Yuba College Students this semester. Students have had to manipulate their schedules around cancelled classes and classes that are too full, or have had to go without classes they need. Both faculty and students have been faced with this problem.
” We still have a cap in English classes; however I did add some students over cap. I don’t feel good about doing that because I feel it cheats all the students,” said English Instructor Sally Harvey. ” I also had to turn away many students, and that’s very difficult to do.”
History and Political Science professor David Rubiales feels that due to the statewide budget crisis, instances such as these are to be expected. ” Ideally, we’d like to offer as many sections as possible, but realistically the less funding we’re given, the less service we can provide,” said Rubiales.
In the past three years, the ratio of class sections offered to the total number of Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES) has fluctuated. From the Spring of 2001 to the Spring of 2002, the Marysville campus saw a 7.5 percent increase in the total number FTES, with less than a one percent increase in the number of class sections offered. However, between the Spring 2002 and the Spring 2003 semesters, the Marysville campus saw a 3.7 percent decline in the number of FTES, with an 11.4 percent decrease in the number of class sections offered. In essence, the small increase of class offerings did not meet the significant increase in students in 2002, and the sizable decrease in class offerings was much more drastic than the small decrease in students in 2003. Over the years, students are finding fewer classes to meet their needs at Yuba College.
The state budget crisis has caused a large amount of financial cutbacks within Community College districts, including YCCD. In the 2002-2003 academic year, the Yuba Community College District made mid-year cutbacks, which resulted in the cancellation of many class sections and the 2003 Intersession; the Yuba College District Council recently voted to cancel the 2004 Intersession.
California Community Colleges receive funding according to a “unique growth cap determined by the adult population change and high school graduation rate,” reports the 2002-2003 Yuba Community College final budget. Within the YCCD budget there are two types of funding specified; funding is determined by categorical funds and unrestricted or general apportionment funds. Categorical funds are “funds received by a district for a certain purpose which can only be spent for that purpose,” according to Mike Dencavage, YCCD Vice President of Business Services.
General apportionment revenue is determined by “funds determined based on a formula or allocation without specifying where and how the funds must be spent,” said Dencavage. Also, a primary variable to generate unrestricted or general apportionment is known as Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES). FTES are figured under four different types of formulas: positive attendance, census week, daily census, and independent study/work experience. One FTES is equal to a total of 525 hours of student instruction/activity. When these formulas are applied, the FTES from the previous or present semester, whichever yields a higher number, is taken and multiplied times a specific amount as either credit FTES or non-credit FTES.
According to the 2002-2003 Budget Handbook, despite YCCD’s continued growth, the “2001-2002 Growth was only funded at First Principal Apportionment at 85 percent and Second Principal Apportionment at 73 percent.” In other words, the first payment made to YCCD by the state only covered 85 percent of the growth rate within the entire district, and the second payment covered only 73.3 percent of the total growth. This shortage left YCCD to cover a large gap in funding.
In comparison to other California education systems, community colleges (CC) receive the lowest percentage of funding from the state. California’s K-12, California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems receive more state money per student than California community colleges. According to numbers found in the RAND database, in 2000 the CC system hosted 76 percent more students than the CSU system and 88 percent more than the UC system. Yet in 2002/03 the Community College system received from the state 78 percent less funding than the UC system and 58 percent less funding than the CSU system.
In a list composed by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office for 2001/02, Yuba College ranked 34 in community college funding, falling in the middle of the scale. According to the list of community colleges, in the 2001/02 year Yuba received $ 3, 772 per FTES, whereas West Kern, the CC district ranked at number one, received $ 8,209 per FTES, giving West Kern 54 percent more funding per FTES over Yuba.
In contrast, Santa Monica, ranking lowest in the list at 72, received $ 3,493 per FTES, giving Yuba only 7 percent more funding in comparison. This shows the vast difference in the amount of funding distributed between Community Colleges. The difference is even notable between the number one and number two rank spots, with West Kern receiving 33 percent more funding over Palo Verde. The state uses no consistent standard in determining the funding of its community colleges
Governor Davis signed the 2003/04 state budget as of August 2 nd, with a spending plan of $99.1 billion in attempts to close California’s $32.8 billion deficit. Yuba College has projected that it will receive 6 percent less funding from the state in the 2003/04 fiscal year. The final YCCD budget is scheduled for consideration by the Board of Trustees on October 8, 2003.