Officials of the Los Angeles Community College District are calling it a "rebalancing" plan, but student leaders and others aren't going along. The Los Angeles Times reported that the plan involves cutting the $1,500 monthly car allowance top administrators receive to $500, and then using the extra $1,000 a month to give raises to those administrators. The plan is based on the idea that the administrators are underpaid, compared to others in California. But student leaders and their backers say that the district shouldn't be paying top officials to drive to and from work, and that any savings should go to restoring some of the class sections that have been cut in recent years.
Budget panels in California's Legislature have rejected a proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown that would have increased tuition for community college students who exceed 90 lifetime credits, The Sacramento Bee reported. The plan, which sought to increase efficiency in the system, would have required students to pay four times the standard tuition rate of $46 per credit. Brown had recommended the caps as part of his budget plan.
West Virginia is moving to merge two community colleges, while maintaining their two campuses, which are 33 miles apart, the Associated Press reported. The boards of Bridgemont Community and Technical College and Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College have approved the plan, under which the two institutions will be run by one president and one board. The goal of the merger is to cut costs.
Last week's incidents at two-year institutions in Virginia and Texas point to safety challenges at institutions with non-residential students, multiple campuses and a fraction of the counseling resources available at four-year institutions.
Hundreds of employees at Bergen Community College apparently overpaid their New Jersey and federal taxes for years, The Bergen Record reported. The overpayments were the result of incorrect calculations about life insurance policies that are covered by the W-2 forms employees receive to do their taxes. The college has issued new W-2 forms and is advising employees that they may want to file amended returns for prior years.
Federal spending on the Pell Grant Program declined slightly during the first half of the 2012-13 award year compared to the same period during the previous two years, according to new data released by the American Association of Community Colleges. Almost all of the spending decrease is for Pell recipients who attended community colleges and for-profit institutions. The number of recipients at public two-year institutions declined by 193,339, according to the association, with Pell spending on that sector dipping by $358 million. Recipients at for-profits were down 115,322 with a corresponding decrease of $131 million in spending. The program's cost also declined in the previous fiscal year.
A committee of Colorado's House of Representatives killed legislation Monday that would have allowed the state's community colleges to offer four-year degrees, citing concerns about whether the state could afford to create new degree programs, the Associated Press reported. Most of Colorado's university leaders had opposed the bill, which officials of the Colorado Community College System said would allow programs only in fields where there was no competition with existing four-year institutions.
Valencia College has a national reputation as a leading community college, but President Sandy Shugart and some trustees have appeared to be having tense relations of late. The Orlando Sentinel reported on e-mails from Guillermo Hansen, one of the trustees who have been critical of Shugart. Hansen complained in an e-mail about his daughter not being interviewed for a job at the college. In addition he complained about the college not moving to advertise publications that might reach Latino students. Hansen is the owner and editor of a bilingual publication for Latinos. Hansen said that he was raising legitimate issues of importance to the college and its students.
One of the negative impacts of budget cuts on California community colleges in recent years has been the elimination of many (and, on some campuses, of most) summer courses, which for many students are key to completing their programs. The Oakland Tribune reported that, with the restoration of some cuts because of a tax measure approved by voters in November, this summer will be better. Chabot College will have 50 more courses this summer than last. The Peralta Community College District is adding back 70. Some college report that they will be back to their 2010 levels of offerings.