On Thursday, Oct 1, the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Chancellor Ronald Gerhard presented unfortunate news to the Las Positas Student Government. Gerhard attended the meeting to let the student government know that the college is anticipating a budget cut of about 8% or about $10 million for the 2021-2022 school year.
The planned budget cut is a result of a Statewide budget deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemicand high unemployment. California is predicting a $54 billion dollar shortfall in the state budget for next year. The College District is currently planning the 2021-2022 budget and is looking at ways to handle the shortfalls.
Gerhard’s message to the student government and students is that student government should get involved in deciding where the budget can be reduced.
The district is looking at ways to reduce costs. Some options being looked at are reducing the number of students attending the college, reducing the number of classes offered, and reducing staffing.
Reducing the number of students at LPC can be achieved by eliminating the classes and programs that are underutilized and have few students. For the current school year, LPC has 7,447 Full Time Equivalent Students and 469 Full Time Equivalent Faculty. The district is predicting 7,096 FTES for the 2021-2022 school year.
Another option is reducing the number of classes. Some classes do not attract many students and could be eliminated without much impact. However, care must be taken to ensure that classes needed for a certificate, degree or transfer are not eliminated.
Another proposed way to reduce class expenditures is to reduce the number of sections made available to each class. The state plans on 32-34 students per class, this is larger than LPC’s current average of 28 students per class. Reducing the number of sections will increase the class size.
A reduction in staffing is also being considered. If the number of sections of a class is reduced then some professors will become redundant. This would most likely impact the adjunct professors more than full time professors. In the Fall of 2019, LPC had 130 full time professors and 247 adjunct (part time) professors.
In California, the tuition for community colleges differ from the UC and State schools in that the State Legislature sets the tuition for community colleges. Community colleges and related districts have no power to set or alter the price of tuition provided to students.. Because of this, LPC is unable to raise tuition to help the budget, only the State Legislature can.
Budget cuts are a near certainty for the upcoming school year. Because of this, Las Positas College requests the input of the student body and student government to decide how these cuts will be made.
Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @alolewis1.