Governor’s budget act will increase community college funds

Every year, California’s governor proposes a budget that allocates state funds in various directions. This year’s budget proposal included an increase in allocated monies to California community colleges and Gov. Jerry Brown signed the budget into effect on June 25.

The budget has grouped K-12 with community colleges in the category of avenues receiving the biggest increases this year, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

With $400 million reserved for community college enrollment and funding increases, the budget contributes to campus communities and enhanced pathways to success.

“The funds will provide additional classes to serve more students and provide additional support to improve student success rates,” said Cory Wathen, vice president of administrative services and student support.

The 2015-16 state budget brings several positive impacts for community colleges. It accounts for money allocation to enrollment growth, cost of living, new full-time faculty, categorical programs such as Extended Opportunities Programs and Services and Disabled Students Programs and Services and funds for deferred maintenance and instructional equipment.

The proposal said the budget’s reason for the amount given to community colleges is to, “provide direction, coordination, planning and leadership to California’s community colleges,” develop a higher quality of education, implement services statewide that improve programs both at the district level and on campus and keep the cost of education at an affordable rate, according to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.

In their budget outline, the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee said they wanted to create more pathways for student success, whether that be a certificate, degree or graduating to transfer.

Although the budget starts on the district level before filtering down to each district’s colleges, students are impacted by the changes in how much money goes where.

CRC hired several new faculty members this year and the new budget can lead to more faculty members in the future. With the increased faculty, students will have more support.

“An increase in the state budget for community colleges is always a good thing,” said Kristie West, public information officer. “We will be able to provide additional course sections and services that will benefit our students to help them be more successful in reaching their goals.”

With increased discussions about campus safety measures, CRC is looking forward to allocations toward campus safety and security.

“The specific improvements will be identified through the district and college’s planning processes and participatory governance committees,” Wathen said. “One area of emphasis will be safety and security improvements given the concerns in this area from recent events.”