State budget slowly crushes community colleges By Kat Wilson
community colleges would come into play, cutting another $1,050,611 from AVC’s funding and reducing the stuOn Feb. 21, California’s dent base by 162 FTES. 2011-2012 Budget Act: -$3,223,949 112 community colleges When funding is cut, Brundage were blindsided by a $149 said, “We really have no choice then 9 1 million mid-year budget but to cut classes.” 0 0 0 cut from the state, aka the In one year, AVC went from proJanuary Trigger Cuts: “February Surprise.” viding classes for 11,371 full-time Due to the economy, state revstudents to 10,502. enues were low with “higher Heidi Preschler, professor of Engdemand[s] for student fee waivlish, German and French, and faculty Tier 1: -$309,085 ers and lower than expected union representative for the Union Task property tax revenues,” accordForce, said she tells her students to be ing to a statement from the grateful for the seats they have in her California Community Colleges class because so many students have Tier 2: -$741,526 to be turned away. Chancellor’s Office. 1 Thomas Brundage, Vice Presi“Stick it out, don’t just drop out 0 dent of Administrative Services, of the class and think you can February Surprise: take it next semester,” Preschler said this unforeseen deficit resulted in an estimated revenue loss of said. “There’s no guarantee that -$1,518,745 $1,518,745 for AVC. a student will get the classes they Yet, the February Surprise was only one in need, even if one student only needs a series of cuts community colleges have had two classes to graduate.” Total: to deal with in the 2011-2012 academic year. These cuts, however, were built into 0 -$5,793,305 0 AVC started off 2011-2012 with an initial the state budget plan, Brundage said. workload reduction estimated at $3,223,949 “We know they’re coming; we can which translates into 706 fewer full-time expect those.” Deficits, on the other equivalent students (FTES), Brundage said. hand, are more unpredictable and colThen, on Dec. 13, 2011, leges can’t prepare for them. the California DepartBrundage said AVC was expecting ment of Finance ananother cut after the triggers—someGraphic Courtesy of Andrew Valle nounced two additional In 2011-2012, the state deficit slashes AVC’s revenues deeper and deeper. where in the range of $300,000—but the “trigger” reductions for $1.5 million February Surprise went far 5
beyond expectations. In total this year, AVC has an estimated reduction in funding of $5,793,305. “The good news is, up to this point we’ve done a really good job of saving money,” Brundage said. “That will help us get through this year and at least part of next year before we have to make real significant additional cuts.” At the start of the Spring semester, AVC’s reserve fund was estimated at 11.63 percent, well above the required five percent reserve minimum. “We’ve agreed that we’ll spend that reserve down to eight percent, and then maintain it at that level,” Brundage said, but, “It’s going to be tough.” Both Preschler and Brundage said they hope the state will “backfill” the February Surprise, either wholly or partially. “The chancellor’s office is requesting that they backfill, but … it probably would just increase the state’s deficit at this point, so I don’t think there’s much chance of it happening,” Brundage said. As of 2011-2012, the state owes $991 million in deferrals to community colleges. More specifically, the state has delayed a total of $14,165,447 in funding to AVC since 2007, according to a budget presentation put together by Brundage and Diana Keelan, Director of Business Services, for the Jan. 31 special Board meeting.
See Budget cuts, page 4
Ongoing problems plague campus infrastructure By Joshua Sanchez Staff Writer
Last month on our blog, The Examiner briefly covered an issue with the Student Services Building (SSV) where the air handler broke down. This caused part of the building to lose heating. The issue was repaired, but this recent breakdown raised some questions about AVC’s infrastructure and how well the other buildings are faring. Some buildings are left from the original campus built in the 60s and 70s, including the fine arts quad, the gymnasium, the SSV and the science buildings. AVC, so far, has gotten a new theater building and a new science building that will be open in the Fall. The old science buildings will be coming down in September. According to Doug Jenson, Director of Facilities at AVC, the next big project on the list is a new SSV building. There’s no bond set for this election year, however, so the new SSV building might not pass until 2014. Jenson said he has three major
projects he’s working on. The first and most urgent is the 52-year-old hot water boiler system in the gymnasium. “The last time we had a welder come out to do some work on it, he said ‘I can’t work on this anymore because the rust is actually what’s holding the whole thing together.’Sothat’sanurgentproject,” Jenson said. Without the boiler system online, the gym would lose much more than hot showers. Students wouldn’t be able to wash clothes or towels, the pool wouldn’t be able to be heated and the athletic hydrotherapy tubs would be rendered useless. The second project concerns the school’s Energy Management Systems (EMS). The school has two, one fromthe80sthatgovernstheheating and cooling of the Administration Building, Business Building, Applied Arts Building, Learning Center and the library. In Fall 2011, the EMS failed in the business building, and the heat was irrepressible. “The technician came out and he actually had to go to eBay to find the parts because they don’t make them any-
more,” Jenson said. In the gym there are numerous plumbing issues, unrelated to the boiler, affecting the bathrooms, showers and drinking fountains. The exact amount of plumbing problems in the gym is not known, nor the exact cause. Other than those three areas the rest of the campus’s problems are day-to-day maintenance, fixing air conditioners and minor electrical problems. As for the new science building, Jenson said he’s feeling the pain of the nearly $5.8 million in cutbacks the school has suffered. The college has done a lot of work with the Measure R bonds passed almost six years ago. The campus’s high voltage systems have been upgraded; the central plant has brand new and more energy efficient chillers. The campus has a brand new theater building as well as a westwardexpansionbringingupgradesto the stadium. The bad news is facilities only has about 50 percent of the staff they needtoproperlymanagethecampus.
Kat Wilson / Examiner
One of the gym’s ancient boilers that has rusted beyond repair. “Custodians are doing twice the area they should in one night. Physically, that’s impossible ... you clean half of what you should be cleaning and the restrooms suffer and the classrooms suffer.” The department of facilities hires student workers, but not all of them can work certain jobs because they
don’thavethepropertrainingtohandle certain chemicals. The program has also been sufferingfromcutbacks.“Justafewmonths ago,welostthreestudentsbecauseof the funding cuts,” Jenson said. “We’ve got plans,” Jenson said, “but there’s never enough money to go around.”