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Trustees clerk:

Put students first

More than 60,000 students could be affected in Coast Community College District as state budget cuts loom.

June 11, 2009|By Kathryn Watson

The Coast Community College District is looking to reduce its operating budget for the next school year by at least $5 million, as the state proposes to cut about $20 million in funding from the district.

The district’s Board of Trustees held a special meeting last week to discuss how to handle Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed cost-cutting measures for the country’s ninth-largest community college district.

“At this point, the state’s budget picture changes daily, making it very difficult to plan for these drastic cuts,” said C. M. Brahmbhatt, the district’s vice chancellor of administrative services.

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If the measures are implemented, more than 60,000 students would be affected annually among Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley, Golden West College in Huntington Beach and Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, according to a release from the district.

The District Budget Advisory Committee, headed by Acting Chancellor Ding-Jo H. Currie, recommended the cost-saving ideas to the board. Clerk Jerry Patterson said students should come first in the crisis.

“If we all focus on putting students first, it becomes clear how important it is that everyone makes sacrifices in the name of mitigating the damage done to students,” he said in a statement. “It is a difficult yet necessary evil in this type of economy.”

Suggestions range from freezing all hiring to closing campuses entirely on Fridays, said Martha Parham, the district’s director of public affairs.

The board is expected to make budget decisions at its regular meeting Wednesday. However, board President Jim Moreno hinted that more budget predicaments are still to come, saying the board “will need to make similar, if not more drastic, cuts for the 2010-11 fiscal year.”


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