Impact of state budget impasse on Cerritos

June 25, 2003 — At the June 18 meeting the Board of Trustees approved the Proposed Tentative Budget of $75 million for 2003-2004. When the State budget is approved we will take a Proposed Adopted Budget forward to the Board.

The Approved Tentative Budget for 2003-2004 is based upon a projected 7 percent net State revenue reduction from the 2002-2003 Adopted Budget.

Because of this projected revenue reduction from the State, as well as an increase in expenditures of around $2 million, we have had to make serious reductions to this year’s budget as compared to last year’s. In fact this tentative budget reflects reductions in various departmental budgets of $7,330,617.

The level of cuts that have been made to the budget for 2003-2004 will impact the level of programs and services that the college can offer. However, all basic programs and services will continue and all normal column and step advancements for faculty and staff will take place in accordance with existing salary schedules.

You may have recently read in the newspapers or heard on the radio that because of the California Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of White v. Davis the state government will have to change the way it operates if the Legislature and Governor fail to reach agreement on a State budget by July 1, the beginning of the 2003-2004 fiscal year.

For California community colleges this means that, without an adopted budget, as of July 1, 2003 the State will not be allowed to make the normal monthly cash payments to the community colleges.

Normally, we would receive about 8 percent of our state apportionment in July, another 8 percent in August, and 12 percent in September.

This suspension of cash payments to the community college districts impacts the ability of the districts to meet their salary obligations and pay their bills.

Today the State Controller announced that, without an adopted budget by July 1, he would indeed suspend cash payments to community college districts as of July.

What does this mean for Cerritos College?

In anticipation of the above scenario the college has set aside a significant amount of cash with the chill on expenditures we have had in place for the last few months.

This cash will be enough to get us through the first couple of months of the 2003-2004 fiscal year and we are working on ways to have more cash available so as to be able to continue operation even longer in the absence of cash payments by the State.

As we enter into these uncharted waters our first priority is to meet our salary obligations.

This means we will need to freeze all other expenditures unless they are absolutely necessary. I will get back to you in a few days with more information on how this freeze will work.

If the impasse in Sacramento over the budget extends too long, the impact on community colleges and their employees across the State will be very severe.

I urge you to write, call, and visit the local offices of your State legislators and impress on them the urgency of getting an adopted budget in Sacramento as soon as possible.

Hopefully, the legislators and the governor will be responsible enough to end this impasse. This is not a time to panic but to plan and to take appropriate action in urging the State legislature and the governor to end the budget standoff.

I will keep you updated as more information becomes available.