As Cerro Coso Community College begins the new academic year, it also faces the uncertainty of the California education budget. In a statement sent to college staff, Kern Community College District Chancellor Sandra Serrano stated "We've planned for the worst-case budget scenario and have been reducing expenditures throughout the district."
The bottom line for Cerro Coso Community College in both scenarios: the college must continue to reduce its budget and utilize college reserves. If Governor Brown's tax initiative passes, Cerro Coso will still face a budget shortfall of approximately $525,000 in the 2013-2014 academic year. In this instance, the college can meet the reduction without cutting additional class sections or Full-Time Equivalent Students (FTES). The fall 2012 schedule has 29 fewer class sections than fall 2011 and is still meeting student demand. All reductions will be made through implementation of a staffing reorganization and natural attrition from retirements and resignations.
The picture will be much grimmer if Brown's Tax Initiative does not pass. Cerro Coso will face a budget shortfall of nearly $1.75 million for the next academic year. To balance this deficit, in addition to the previous strategies presented, the college will need to make reductions that equate to the elimination of another 100 class sections (reducing full-time equivalent students by 271), as well as further staff reductions and cuts to programs and services.
The college is strategically preparing for both scenarios. "To say the least, solving our budget crisis is complex," said Serrano. "We must continue to work cooperatively and will engage collective bargaining and governance representatives to make tough choices that will reduce our costs and focus on the central part of our mission, which is providing access to quality education for our students so they can be prepared for their major in order to transfer or enter the workforce."
Cerro Coso Community College President Jill Board said, "The college has been weathering this storm with heavy reliance upon our college reserves. We will fare much better than some community colleges across the state, but the reserve will not last forever. At a time when unemployment rates are at an all-time high, and community members are looking to retrain for jobs, the California Community College System has suffered state funding cuts of about $809 million since 2008; and it faces another $338-million cut in January if voters reject Gov. Brown's tax initiative."
The message for Cerro Coso Community College is clear: "We may not look the same, but whatever we do, we will do well," concluded Board.
For further information, please contact Natalie Dorrell, Public Information (760) 384-6260