January 24, 2011

Dear Karen,

First off, thank you for your great feedback on the Legislative Analyst's recommendations on prioritizing community college enrollment. I received 250 responses, and have reviewed most of them and shared many (with your name taken off) with legislative staff.

This morning, we are conducting a Student Success Symposium with 260 community college leaders and legislative staff in Sacramento as part of our Annual Legislative Conference. Following the symposium, trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and students will be heading to the State Capitol to meet with legislators.

The points that they will be emphasizing in their visits:

Our Budget Principles

  1. Given the importance of retraining for our newly unemployed and new high school graduates, community colleges should not be asked to take a larger share of education cuts.
  2. Increased revenues from student enrollment fees should protect the quality of instruction and student services.
  3. Policy and practice reforms to improve student success and incent student behavior should be based on sound research and implemented in a manner to allow students and institutions to adjust.

Our Position on the Governor’s Proposed Budget

  1. We support a balanced approach, including the extension of temporary tax revenues to protect vital state programs along with significant budgetary cuts to bring the budget into balance.
  2. We support redirecting any amount of student fee revenue to reduce the proposed apportionment cut. Under the governor’s proposal, this would reduce community college apportionment payments by 5%.
  3. We oppose the proposal to distribute apportionment based on student retention, and instead encourage an additive, categorical incentive funding program to encorage student success. (See the Vision 2020 Report) 

More on the Census Change Proposal

Finally, I'll share with you a meeting that community college leaders had on Friday with the Department of Finance. The meeting followed up on the governor's commitment to meet with higher education leaders to further develop the budget proposal.

The administration appeared willing to revise its proposed census changes, although is concerned that a simple "workload reduction" will not ensure that very limited enrollment funds are preserved for new high school graduates and the newly unemployed.

While we strongly believe that you locally can best match these limited dollars with what your students need, the administration's concern is legitimate. Of the 140,000 headcount reduction in community colleges in 2009-2010, 139,000 were first-time (such as new high school graduates) or students returning after a significant delay (such as unemployed).

At a time of miserable rationing, we have to be deeply concerned about whether the doors continue to be open to this generation of students emerging from our high schools and folks that need retraining to return to the workforce. Yesterday, Lumina Foundation Vice President DeWayne Matthews told attendees at our Legislative Conference that economists believe that 75% of the jobs being lost in this recession may not return, and those that have found themselves out of work need to retrain for an economic recovery to return and to ensure our citizens can participate in it.

Saying "no" to anyone in community colleges is hard. However, we have to make sure that we can say "yes" to those that need us the most.



Scott Lay
President and Chief Executive Officer
Orange Coast College '94

Community College League of California
2017 O Street, Sacramento, California 95811
916.444.8641 . www.ccleague.org