Article - Office of College Advancement

Ohlone board OKs temporary budget

By Wes Bowers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007—Reprinted from Fremont Bulletin.

Ohlone Community College's Board of Trustees approved a temporary budget on 6-0 vote June 6 that should leave $28 million in the community college district's fund balance by the end of the 2007/2008 fiscal year.

Joanne Schultz, a college council representative, said the district will have a beginning balance of $71 million next fiscal year, with $54 million in revenues expected. However, Schultz said the district will likely spend $97 million.

Schultz added these numbers were only preliminary, as the state still has not finalized its own budget. The state Legislature is due to finalize California's budget that will determine how much to spend on education.

"We're anticipating no (state) deficit," she said. "But anything could happen in the next few months."

Schultz said Ohlone is expecting 8,207 full-time students to be enrolled during the next academic year. Additionally, enrollment fees will remain at $20 per unit. With an additional $1.8 million from a 4.53 percent raise in cost of living expenses, that should give the college a $910,000 revenue increase.

But expenses such as positions at the college's new Newark campus for half a year add up to $402,000. Also, operating expenses for the new campus for half a year total $138,000. These were just two examples of expenditures Schultz presented along with existing salaries and benefits.

Schultz noted that Ohlone, along with other community colleges in the state, is not getting its complete amount of funding due. She said Ohlone's Gann Limit appropriations should be $63 million, but the college is really only getting $39 million. Under the Gann Limit, enacted in 1973, a maximum was established for tax-funded government services, including education.

Schultz said of all education levels, community colleges receive the least amount of funding either from the state or the Gann Limit.

"So we're funded at 63 percent of what we need to carry out the mission of the college," she said. "The legislature told us we're not fully funded, and they told us that even back in the early '90s."

Trustee Bill McMillin added the college should begin examining a three-year budget cycle.

Trustee Bob Brunton said community colleges should be more vocal when it comes to getting greater funding from the state.

"Fifty-six percent of California's budget is for education, and community colleges are treated the worst," he said. "We need to unite and fight for more funding for our community colleges."

Trustee Garrett Yee was absent from the June 13 meeting.

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