Community Colleges Feel The Pinch Of The Economy

Sep 28, 2010 7:21 PM

"It does impact our budget and it does cost us money because the state is basically pushing their cash flow problems onto the community colleges" said Andrew Suleski, Butte College's Vice President of Administration. The frustration continues for community colleges in California as they await more than 800-million dollars in funding from the state. Butte College receives 3 to 7-million dollars each month, but has had to rely on reserves for the last three months. That reserve will run out at the end of September, which will force the school to dip into a retirement benefit fund costing them thousands in interest. "When you lose roughly 100-thousand dollars in interest revenue, those are dollars that we can't spend on students" Suleski explained.
But the real victim in all the chaos is the students. Many rely on cal grant funding from the state, more than 1,200 students at Butte College alone. Butte is currently fronting the grant money to the students while it awaits payment from the state, and for many students that funding is critical. "I rely on this money for a bunch of different things, not only my text books, but also other things that I need like food and transportation" said Butte College student Michelle Baxter. Ashley Wears, also a Butte College student adds "This money is my lively-hood, I got it all planned out, this is my rent and I have enough to pay my bills and buy me food".
While Butte College had reserves set aside to keep in operation and will be able to fall back on personal funding to keep afloat, many community colleges aren't fairing so well. Some have began borrowing from banks to make ends meet, and could be in hot water if a budget is not adopted soon. Butte College will adopt a final budget next month and revisions will be made once lawmakers agree on a state spending plan.


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