If Proposition 30 is defeated on Nov. 6, the West Valley-Mission Community College District will face $6.1 million in budget cuts, affecting class sizes, offerings and faculty jobs, according to college administrators.
“We might find that we’re not able to go ahead with all of the courses in the winter class schedule,” said Adrienne Grey, president of the West Valley-Mission Community College District Board of Trustees.
“For Mission it would be pervasive—all across the board but mostly the arts and humanities; also have cuts in business and technology,” wrote Mission College President Laurel Jones in an email.
Even if Proposition 30—which raises income and sales taxes across the state— does pass there will still be $2.5 million in cuts to the system, with possibly detrimental effects for students and faculty, said Davis. About 90 percent of the system’s budget is linked to personnel, so the cuts could force the system to reduce or consolidate positions.
The cuts are not new. “At West Valley, there has been three straight years of budget cuts, declines in services and consolidating departments,” said Davis. “We’ve consolidated a lot of staff positions and gone through a couple rounds of layoffs.”
The cuts will affect class sections, making it difficult for students to find the courses they need, said Grey.
Davis pointed to possible solutions, such as moving more courses online so that they will still be available, or raising student fees per unit.
The college would still maintain the classes students are most likely to need to receive an associate’s degree, or to transfer, said Grey. They would cut classes deemed less needed, such as physical education.
But cutting these classes often means that their instructors are also hard-pressed, as they may not be qualified to teach the remaining courses, she added.
Still, the college administrators pointed out that the colleges will soon have some promising improvements, even with budget cuts. Measure C, which passed in June, provides the funding to retrofit all of the old college buildings, some which have not been refurbished since they were built in 1962.
“These buildings have been lovingly used over the years,” said Davis, pointing out that new language arts and social sciences buildings are coming in the next year.
In the spring 2012 semester, Mission had 10,221 students, and West Valley has 14,058 students, according to statistics provided by the district. About 45 percent of students are currently taking six credits or more, with 25 percent taking more than 12 credits, or a full-time load. The majority of students come from Campbell.
Davis remained optimistic that the system could survive the budget cut storm, which has had a more damaging effect to other community colleges across California—many which face sanctions.
“Everyone feels we’re going to weather the budget cut storm,” he said. “We’ll emerge stronger, albeit a little different.”
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