BARSTOW • In the wake of Gov. Jerry Brown's failed attempt to get a tax increase extension on a June ballot local school district and community college officials must now figure out what to cut from their budgets.
College officials also say that the school may have to curtail the number of students it can serve.
Brown announced the end of budget talks between his administration and Republican lawmakers Wednesday. As a result, voters will not have a chance to decide whether or not to renew temporary sales, vehicle and income taxes approved by the state legislature in 2009.
Without a tax extension on the ballot, Barstow Unified School District stands to lose about $2 million a year for the next three years in state funding, according to Superintendent Susan Levine. Silver Valley Unified School District could lose a between $850,000 and $875,000 a year for the next three years, said Superintendent Marc Jackson.
Barstow Community College officials don't know yet exactly how much it will lose in state funding, but it could be as much as $1.3 million, estimated Virgil Stanford, the college's vice president of administrative services. The college may also be forced to cap the number of full time students allowed to enroll next year at 2,500. This year 3,300 full-time students attend BCC, according to college President Thom Armstrong.
Barstow Community College won't know what its actual cut will be until September, Stanford said.
The community college system as a whole could be cut by approximately $800 million, according to Chancellor Jack Scott. As a result, more than 400,000 students will be unable to take classes at California's community colleges. Even with the tax extensions on the ballot, community colleges would have lost $400 million in state funding.
"The governor may attempt to pull a rabbit out of his hat with an election in November," Armstrong said, adding that he met with board members, staff and faculty Friday morning to discuss the budget. "But we have to look at what's the worst-case scenario."
College Board President Ted Baca declined to answer any questions pertaining to the budget issue.
BUSD, which was asked to prepare two budgets — one would take effect if the tax increases were voted in — is looking to save $1 million by eliminating 20 teaching positions once they are vacated, Levine said. The school board will be discussing further cuts to BUSD's budget at its April 19 meeting.
"We try to make the cuts as painless as possible, but we're at the point where we've already cut $8 million in the last three years," Levine said. "It's a challenge to maintain our programs and give our students the best education."
Silver Valley will be able to make a cut of as much as $875,000 to its budget without a reduction in student services, Jackson said.
Brown proposed bringing the tax increase extensions to a vote in an attempt to close the state's $26.6 billion budget gap.
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