State Budget Update, Reminder to Vote

January 11, 2011

First, I want to thank you for continuing to support DASB's efforts to win funds for peer mentoring through the Pepsi Refresh Project. Remember to vote for their initiative twice every day -- online and by text message -- through the rest of the month. Vote at and text code 105640 to 73774.

As you know, Gov. Brown yesterday released his proposed budget for 2011-2012, which includes reductions totaling more than $12 billion in state services and education, and a revenue package of more than $12 billion to bridge the more than $25 billion deficit.

The proposed budget reduction for California's community colleges is $400 million through a technical change in census dates, which means a cut of roughly $11 million to Foothill-De Anza. He also proposes a 38% fee increase of $10 per semester unit (about $7 per quarter unit, which would mean $24 per unit for our students).

The cut to community colleges is accompanied by a cut of another $1 billion to the UC and CSU. The projected budget would also cut health and social services deeply, eliminating or restricting several services upon which our most vulnerable students and fellow citizens depend.

If the governor's proposed tax package fails in June, there would be an additional cut of half a billion dollars to community colleges.

Two points, one about the state, the other about ourselves:

We must see the cuts to the community colleges in the context of both the national recession and the reluctance of many to increase taxes as a way of saving public services. Similarly, there will be no budget resolution that protects community colleges without one that saves other services. The politics of the next few months are the politics of solidarity between ourselves and the millions of Californians who believe in education, health care and social services for all.

We have both time and money to plan our next steps at the college and in the district. We have adequate reserves to handle the immediate impact of state cuts, and we have well-designed planning processes with which we can plan beyond the cuts. We will do what we always do: focus on our students even as we work through budgets.

An excellent source for budget analysis is the nonpartisan, nonprofit California Budget Project. The organization's assessment of the governor's proposed budget is the top item on its website: I urge you to familiarize yourselves with the broader contours of the budget, as it gives us a context within which to understand what is proposed for community colleges.

Brian Murphy

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