I hope you had a great first week of the spring semester. With a new semester comes a sense of new beginnings and change. I know that the following is true: Life is about constant, predictable patterns of change. One of those constants is that the environment in which community colleges function is always in flux. Today, the changes we face challenge the District and its colleges and, by extension, its employees.
As we face those challenges, let us be ever mindful of the students and community that we serve. By working together, I trust our collective efforts will make us equal to the tasks ahead. Our administrators, faculty, and classified staff always dig deep to provide our students excellent instructional programs and support services. I continue to be very grateful for all you do.
California Community Colleges New Vision for Success
Since his appointment, California Community Colleges Chancellor Oakley has communicated about the key role the community colleges play in creating a better California. He also says that despite our best efforts, most of our students do not reach a clear goal. Less than half of the enrolled community colleges students leave with a degree or certificate or transfer after six years. This video provides insights into his vision.
In recent months, work was completed on the pivotal Vision for Success plan. By 2022, the document calls for:
- A 20 percent increase in the number of community college students who earn a degree, credential, certificate or specific skill set that prepares them for an in-demand job;
- A 35 percent increase in the number of community college students transferring annually to a UC or a CSU campus;
- An increase from 60 percent to 69 percent of the number of students completing career and technical education programs who get jobs in their fields of study.
In July 2017, the Board of Governors approved the Vision for Success to improve student success. From the start, it was clear that accountability would be tied to these goals in the near future. That future has arrived.
Governor's 2018-2019 Proposed Budget
The current FTES-based community college funding model is based primarily on how many students we enroll. The Governor and the State Chancellor's Office do not believe that this enrollment-based model appropriately reflects the Board of Governor's Vision for Success or the state's priorities to better serve students and eliminate equity gaps.
As such, the Governor's 2018-2019 Proposed Budget begins the rollout of a new community college funding model. The proposed new funding model includes the following components:
- Base Grant (50% of the funding) - Each district would receive a base grant using a per-FTES funding formula, similar to the current appropriation calculation.
- Supplemental Grant (25% of the funding) - Each district would receive a supplemental grant based on the number of low-income students who receive a College Promise Grant fee waiver (formerly known as the Board of Governors Waiver) or a Pell Grant.
- Student Success Incentive Grant (25% of the funding) - Each district would receive additional funding for the number of certificates and degrees awarded and the number of students completing them in three years or less with additional funds for each Associate Degree for Transfer granted.
It remains unclear what impact this newly proposed funding model will have on our budget. Since not all of the factors that make up the new formula have been released, we are unable to project exactly how our district will be affected. Once we receive these factors, I will be able to provide you with further information on how we will be impacted and the necessary steps we will need to take to move forward. We will continue meeting with our legislators and working with the Community College League of California to advocate for our colleges and express our concerns regarding aspects of the proposed funding model.
What is clear is that we have 17 months to align our strategic planning with the goals articulated in the Vision for Success and to initiate steps to ensure our maximum success with the new funding model. We will be working through the participatory governance process to ensure that all constituents have the opportunity to offer their feedback and proposals. Of course, we want to maximize the number of students who receive fee waivers or Pell Grants. Of greatest concern, is how we will boost student completion as outlined in the new model.
RSCCD's 2018-2019 Budget Challenges
During a budget update at the January 22nd Board of Trustees meeting, Vice Chancellor Peter Hardash spoke about the budget challenges facing the District in 2018-2019. He highlighted five key challenges including:
- The District will receive only $4 million in new ongoing revenues coming through the 2.51% COLA in the Governor's Proposed Budget. (No state bailouts are expected to offset the costs of increases in STRS, PERS, health benefits, and other operational expenses.)
- There are unknowns about the full impact of the new community college funding model that will be based on District (not college) accountability measures.
- The District expects $8 to $9 million in new expenditures including COLA (subject to collective bargaining), step/column increases, STRS cost escalation, PERS cost jump, and health benefit increases.
- With so many unknowns, the District's tentative budget will be based on the information that we know at the time. Changes in information may cause adjustments in the adopted budget.
What we do know is that our additional expenses surpass our new income. To ensure a balanced budget, in the coming weeks, the Chancellor's Cabinet will work with all constituent groups through the participatory governance process to make necessary cuts to the 2018-2019 budget. As more information is available, I will update you.
I wish you a successful spring semester. Once again, thank you for your dedicated service to our students and the community.