When nine community colleges opened across Los Angeles last week, thousands of students scrambled to get into too few classes.
At Pierce College, 100 students descended on a math course capped at 50. At L.A. Valley College, enrollment grew 105 percent, with classes too full for waiting lists. Students at L.A. Mission College competed for fewer desks.
Now L.A. community college administrators are girding for more cuts in classes and services should voters reject the Proposition 30 tax hike measure this fall.
“I feel it would be a severe punctuation in loss of funds – and have a truly devastating effect on our service mission,” Chancellor Daniel LaVista of the Los Angeles Community College District told the Daily News.
“It’s estimated we’ll cut 1,500 sections – disenfranchising 15,000 to 18,000 students.”
A lackluster economy has already forced community colleges across the state to jettison courses, slash enrollment, reduce teachers and raise fees. The California system has seen an $809 million drop in funds in three years, with Los Angeles bearing much of the burden.
The 112-campus state community college system now is bracing for a $338-million midyear budget cut if Gov. Jerry Brown’s Prop. 30 tax initiative fails.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles district is preparing for a $31.3-million loss, shared by nine campuses from Sylmar to Wilmington.
To close a $21 million shortfall, the district is looking to cut classes, reduce services, increase parking fees and negotiate faculty and staff pay and benefit cuts and furloughs. (Read more.)