Gav budget team to suggest cuts

GILROY
– Gavilan College is using a fast-track task force to study its
budget and make recommendations for spending cuts totaling $1.2
million, or nearly 7 percent of its general fund.
GILROY – Gavilan College is using a fast-track task force to study its budget and make recommendations for spending cuts totaling $1.2 million, or nearly 7 percent of its general fund.

The task force was appointed by the school’s President’s Council, an advisory panel to Gavilan President Steve Kinsella, in light of the state’s $35 billion revenue shortfall. The decision to form the budget task force follows a decision by the school to cut more than 40 classes from its spring semester offerings, a move that saved the school $120,000 largely in part-time teachers’ salaries.

It is not clear how many items, as well as teaching positions, could be cut from the normal Gavilan College menu of programs and services. What is known is that $1.2 million in cuts will cover the expected $800,000 reduction in revenue from the state and restore $400,000 of deficit spending.

“We’re not going out of business but we do have to scale back to provide a level of service that we can afford,” Kinsella said.

The budget team’s final recommendation for trimming the school’s expenses will come by March or April. The group consists of students, faculty, professional support staff and administrators.

Officially on the job less than two weeks, Kinsella wasted little time forming the budget group, showing the dollars-and-cents approach that won him the community college’s head position last fall.

Kinsella replaced former President Rose Marie Joyce who left Gavilan in July to take the president position at Rio Hondo College in Whittier. Martin Johnson, Gavilan’s vice president of Instructional Services, served as interim president since then.

“We have to pull back to our core mission, look at the strategic plan and provide the highest level of quality we can produce for our students,” Kinsella said.

The situation will not get easier for Gavilan in the 2003-04 school year. Gov. Gray Davis proposed a $530 million, or 10.5 percent, cut Friday. The California Community Colleges Association said the cuts would force the system to deny access to approximately 146,000 students in the fall – a number almost equal to the entire undergraduate enrollment of the University of California.

The Governor’s budget proposal also included a fee hike from $11 per unit to $24. Fee hikes would not go back to individual schools, but instead head toward the state’s general fund where it would not be available for community college use.

The CCC called it the most significant fee increase since fees were first imposed at community colleges.

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