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Glendale Community College plans budget slash

State 'is trying to do education on the cheap,' interim president charges.

August 24, 2012|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

This story has been corrected, see below for details.

At a hastily arranged town hall-style meeting Thursday, Glendale Community College officials announced plans to cut $13 million from the college's 2012-13 budget, regardless of the outcome of a state tax initiative that goes before voters in November.

A major part of the cost-cutting — $9 million — will come in the form of significant pay cuts for 115 classified employees, who will see their work schedules reduced by one month if the plan is approved by the board of trustees. Classified employees include non-faculty workers, such as technicians and secretaries.

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One summer session will also be eliminated and staff medical benefits will be altered as part of the plan to reduce expenses.

Interim Supt./President Jim Riggs said the college is facing a “residual effect” of decisions made on the state level.

“Simply put, California's trying to do education — from pre-school all the way up to post-doctoral work — on the cheap,” Riggs said, adding later, “I'm sorry that this has had to happen.”

The $13-million figure was a major increase from the previous forecast of $8 million in needed spending reductions.

On Thursday, Ron Nakasone, vice president of administrative services, said the additional cuts “are going to have to come out of paychecks,” noting more than 85% of the college's budget rests in salaries and pensions.

If November's state tax initiative does not pass, Nakasone said the college will slash another $4 million.

Some employees may not be working in either January or August. Some who currently work 12 months would work 11 and others who work 11 months would work 10.

The one-month reduction means an 8.3% salary cut, said college Vice-President Mary Mirch.

During the emotionally charged meeting, Mirch quietly choked back tears at the podium as she discussed how the college has eliminated 725 class sessions since 2008.

That number doesn't include an additional 100 classes on the chopping block for this fall and the 80 others scheduled for elimination next summer. Fewer class offerings have turned registration into a gauntlet of waiting lists and frustration for students trying to graduate and move on to a four-year institution.

“We are at a base now. We can't go any lower,” Mirch said.

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