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Governor’s Proposed Budget “Good News” for College of the Canyons

Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed 2006-07 budget for California contains good news for the state’s 109 community colleges, especially College of the Canyons. The budget contains increases in a number of key areas that will allow the colleges to serve more students, and while community college revenues will increase under the Governor’s plan, student enrollment fees will remain the same.  The current rate is $26 per unit. “This budget proposal demonstrates the Governor’s continued commitment to access to our community colleges, which serve as the gateway to higher education for millions of California students,” said Dr. Dianne Van Hook, Superintendent-President of College of the Canyons. The Governor took a bold step in addressing per-student funding inequalities between campuses by proposing $130 million for equalization.  Due to a complex and unfair funding formula, the average amount of funding that colleges receive per student varies from a high of $5,481 to a low of $3,752.  College of the Canyons currently ranks 52 out of the state’s 72 college districts, receiving $3,871 per student. The Governor’s budget for the current fiscal year provided equalization funds of $30 million, from which College of the Canyons received more than $400,000.  The state has not decided how the money will be allocated in 2006-07, but College of the Canyons may see a significant boost in revenue from these funds. The budget also includes 3 percent funding for enrollment growth, which will let colleges serve more students by adding classes and providing additional services.  It is too early to tell exactly how much money that will mean to College of the Canyons, but initial estimates show the increased funding will make room for 63,800 more students at community colleges statewide. As well, the Governor’s proposed 5.18 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) recognizes the quickly inflating costs for the colleges to operate while maintaining high quality classroom instruction and student services.  The proposed COLA could mean an additional $2 million in funding for College of the Canyons in the 2006-07 fiscal year. “We’re excited about the budget proposed by the Governor because it has the potential to correct some longstanding problems in community college finance,” Dr. Van Hook said.  “We are optimistic that the Legislature will recognize the importance of the priorities outlined in the Governor’s budget and approve the funding levels as proposed when they vote on the budget later this year.”