The Imperial Valley College board and staff on Wednesday went over the governor’s May budget revise, how the governor proposed earlier this week to close the billion-dollar budget gap for next year. The proposal keeps community college levels about the same as what was proposed in January, but local officials have questioned whether that is an accurate look at what the state will face.
In the last three years the state’s projections of its revenue have fallen short, and this fiscal year it made for a $1 million additional cut toward the end of the year, he said. There’s no assurance that what is in the May revise is what will come in the next few months, so the college is having to be flexible with its budget. It’s going to be difficult with the state budget in flux, but the college is looking to allocate resources to maximize the benefit for the students.
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There’s the potential for a $1.9 million cut that could come in the middle of the year should a proposal set to go before voters not pass, said President Victor Jaime. That would mean a 6.4 percent workload reduction and the loss of nearly 400 full-time equivalent students.
Board members emphasized the importance of the tax measure the governor has asked for on the ballot in November, which would increase the sales tax and raise levies on upper incomes to help raise money for schools and balance the state’s budget. The board passed a resolution in support of the measure, and faculty and classified staff had been getting signatures through the last few weeks to qualify it for the November ballot.
There are potentially great impacts to IVC should the ballot measure fail, said board member Jerry Hart. The college would have to lose another 400 full-time equivalent students on top of the nearly 1,000 it has had to cut in the last few years, he said.
“That’s a tragedy,” he said.
He said he was pleased the May proposal for the state budget wasn’t worse than the proposal in January, but it’s still not great. It’s going to be very, very important that the board in some way resolves the college’s finance issues.
The public response varied, with some who had been laid off asking the board to reconsider the cuts. Another group talked about how necessary smart decisions would be in the coming months.
“If you don’t do the right thing, IVC could fail,” said Gaylla Finnell, president of the full-time faculty association.
She asked the board to make the needed cuts to keep the college going because it is the only resource of its kind here. The college can’t keep the same number of jobs while having to cut services.
The faculty has made numerous cuts, like losing summer and winter sessions and pay cuts, Finnell said. Faculty is having to do more work while getting paid less money, but it does it.
Finnell added she’s starting to think the college board doesn’t have the will to make the tough decisions, she said. She wants them to make the right decisions for the community and students, not politics.
“If we fail in this, shame on us. Shame on us,” she said.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.
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