Important Budget Update

April 5, 2011

Welcome to spring quarter. It's good to see our students back, classes beginning, and even a hint that we are past the dreary weather. We are again working to add students into every available open seat, as we are trying to restore our enrollment after the drop we experienced in fall and winter. I appreciate your work to accommodate our students.

I also want to extend my appreciation to everyone who is working on our Accreditation Self Study and continuing to move forward with Student Learning Outcomes, Student Services Learning Outcomes, and Administrative Unit Outcomes assessment cycles (don't forget to put the SLO Convocation on your calendar for the 15th). The work on accreditation has been intense. We will share the draft Self Study with governance groups and the college community beginning at the end of the month, and will hold a Town Hall meeting in mid-May. We will take the Self Study to College Council for approval prior to presenting to the board of trustees in June. The report will detail much of what is exceptional about the college, and will position us well for the accreditation team visit Oct. 24 through 27.

On the other hand, the budget news is bad. The immediate issue is the failure of Republican legislators to reach agreement with the governor to place an extension of current taxes on a June special ballot. The absence of the tax extension means that the legislature and governor must cut additional dollars from existing programs.

Chancellor Thor last night sent to you a detailed account of the district's current planning parameters as we try to craft a path through the financial crisis the state is handing us.

The bottom line for De Anza College is that we face an unprecedented reduction in our operating funds, with resulting cuts to academic and support programs. We have been working on a best case/worst case scenario, and now must move to the worst case. This could mean a loss of approximately $15 million to $16 million for De Anza.

The level of reductions is unimaginable, and yet we must imagine it. The college has a robust and transparent planning process in place through the three Planning and Budget Teams, and we will share their work widely across the campus, including through Town Hall meetings, as we learn more about the actual cuts Sacramento imposes.

I will forward state budget news as it emerges, as well as possibilities for our own engagement. Our students have been among the most active and engaged in the entire state, and their voices will matter as the legislature debates where to cut and what to protect.

I look forward to a time when I can send a positive and happy note about budgets, and then focus only on the work we do with students. It is deeply sad to have the state abandon what all of us have devoted our lives to: a system of public education available to all and defined by its quality. But as labor organizer Joe Hill said: "Don't mourn, organize."

Brian Murphy

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