Grim CCSF budget prepares for worst 

click to enlarge School out for summer? If Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax proposal fails at the ballot box, City College of San Francisco might have to cancel the 2013 summer session. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner file photo
  • School out for summer? If Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax proposal fails at the ballot box, City College of San Francisco might have to cancel the 2013 summer session.

As City College of San Francisco awaits an accreditation review that is expected to highlight its faltering grip on financial solvency, college officials have compiled an austere budget for the 2012-13 school year that has more cutbacks in store if voters do not approve a tax measure in November promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“The college is facing a historic, unprecedented fiscal crisis,” Interim Chancellor Pamila Fisher said in an address to faculty last month.

In a tentative budget adopted by trustees June 28, the college estimated state funding of $96 million, the same as last school year, but nearly $15 million less than in 2010-11. If the tax measure fails, the college will be out another $10 million.

Meanwhile, CCSF’s reserve fund, which the state says should be no less than 5 percent of its budget, has dropped below $3 million, or less than 2 percent.

In May, trustees mentioned the possibility of closing one of the 12 campuses. CCSF spokesman Larry Kamer said no such closure was imminent, but it remains a possibility.

“It’s a complicated question,” he said. “It is something that the chancellor is developing a plan for answering.”

Also Thursday, the college reached agreements with most of its labor unions that included cost-saving measures. The college will trim about 80 jobs, primarily by not replacing retirees. An annual payment toward retiree health insurance will be skipped, the number of class sections will be reduced and only classes expected to increase the college’s overall enrollment will be added. The college will have to ensure enrollment does not drop off, because state funding is based on the number of students.

Should California voters reject the tax measure in November, the college will likely be forced to cancel the summer 2013 session.

The college also is placing a $79 parcel tax on the local November ballot, which would raise $16 million a year for eight years. However, that would not take effect in time to have an impact on this year’s budget.

In a letter to college trustees that accompanied the budget proposal, Fisher warned that the savings the administration was proposing were short-term solutions.

“The college community needs to engage immediately in the process of identifying and discussing dramatic systemic changes necessary to achieve fiscal stability,” she wrote.

Kamer said a final budget would not be passed until September.

CCSF 2012-13 budget figures

$187 million: General fund revenue
$187 million: General fund expenses
$96 million: Funding from state
$10.3 million: Would be lost if governor’s tax measure fails in November
34,057: Full-time equivalent students

Source: CCSF

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