GAVILAN COLLEGE, CA - 937 Gavilan College students received phone calls yesterday informing them that some of the summer and fall classes they had registered for had been cancelled. The cancellations were announced in anticipation of budget cuts in the wake of the failure of propositions 1A and 1B, and dismal state revenue projections.
In a letter to students, Gavilan College President Steven M. Kinsella, D.B.A., wrote “On behalf of the entire college, I wish to apologize for the inconvenience these class cancellations may cause. The state budget crisis and reduced funding for community colleges leave no alternative. We remain committed to helping you meet your educational goals.”
Students whose classes were cancelled will have the option of registering for an alternate class or receiving a refund. Many of the class sections for summer are already full, leaving some students with few alternatives. Counselors will be available on a walk-in basis during the summer to help students select new classes.
The class cancellations account for approximately 20% of the summer schedule and 10% of the fall schedule. The governor’s budget proposal for 2009-10, released on May 14, includes $581 million in direct cuts for community colleges, plus $117 million in unreimbursed property tax shortfalls and 50% reductions to the categorical programs which provide student services, including disability resources, Math, Engineering, Science and Engineering Achievement, matriculation, basic skills and CalWORKS. With additional cuts to growth funding and a reduction of $85 million for the current year (2008-09, which ends on June 30) Community Colleges could see total budget cuts of $825 million. Community Colleges are not receiving federal stimulus funding, as are the other sectors of education.
The cuts to the Gavilan College class schedule are occurring at a time when demand for career training and affordable higher education is at an all time high. Gavilan College has experienced double-digit enrollment growth for three consecutive years. With high regional unemployment, reduced freshman classes and higher fees at the University of California and California State University systems, Gavilan College was anticipating another year of record demand. The Chancellor’s Office of the California community Colleges anticipates turning away over 250,000 students statewide if the cuts for the 2009-2010 academic year go through.