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UPDATE: COC budget sees increase from last year

Posted: September 26, 2013 10:55 a.m.
Updated: September 26, 2013 5:40 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - Bolstered by passage of the Proposition 30 tax hikes in November, College of the Canyons is projecting a budget increase this year, though officials say that even with the increase the college’s budget is still below what it was before the recession.

As approved, COC’s budget will increase by about $3.5 million over last year to stand at approximately $185 million, according to figures from the college.

Of that, about $88 million is made up by the college’s unrestricted general fund, which is used typically for course supplies and materials, salaries and other operational costs.

“We’re excited to see that increase because it means that we can increase our course offerings,” said Eric Harnish, vice president of public information at COC.

Harnish said COC is offering about 160 more classes this fall semester than last year’s.

The college will also increase the number of courses offered during its winter session, he said.

“The last four years have been difficult in terms of funding and we are seeing some funding increases this year,” he said.

“We’re not where we were back in 2008-2009, but we are headed in the right direction and we are able to increase access and make more opportunities available for our students.”

Community college districts have until Sept. 15 to adopt a final budget. Members of COC’s Board of Trustees approved the final budget on Sept. 11.

Officials credited Proposition 30, a series of income and sales tax increases that was approved by voters in November, with providing additional funding to the college.

“Passage of Proposition 30 helped us a great deal, as it did many community colleges,” said Joan MacGregor, a member of the college’s Board of Trustees.

Statewide, community colleges received $210 million in additional funds in 2012-2013 as a result of Proposition 30, according to figures from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

However, the increase pales in comparison the cuts absorbed by community colleges, which total about $1.5 billion since 2008, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

But the Proposition 30 tax hikes, which are supposed to primarily fund education, are temporary — expiring after the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

“Our concern somewhat is that Proposition 30 does end, so we’re already planning for that,” MacGregor said. “We’re always looking ahead.”

Harnish said the college is examining grant opportunities and partnerships with other agencies as a way to supplement money received from the state.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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