SMC to cut classes, teachers if Prop 30 fails

While Santa Monica College has been able to avoid layoffs since the beginning of the budget crises, the Board of Trustees and school officials are now saying that part-time staff could be reduced if the November budget initiative known as Proposition 30 doesn’t pass. Bruce Smith, Public Information Officer at SMC said “It’s very, very unlikely for any full-time employees to be cut, but part-time staff could be further reduced due to fewer classes.”At SMC, many of the options discussed over the summer by the BOT are still being debated and are dependent upon Proposition 30. Although the BOT will be approving a new budget at their next meeting on September 6, it may be amended after the November elections.

Prop 30 will have a serious impact on the near future of SMC according to Smith. The proposition, supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, would raise sales tax from 7.25 to 7.5 percent and would create three new income tax brackets for those with taxable income above $250,000, $300,000, and $500,000. If Prop 30 does not pass, it is likely that the winter term as well as 500 course sections from the 2013 Spring Semester will be cut. This 500 would be in addition to the 1100 course sections that have already been cut since the fall of 2008.

If passed, the tax increases would last seven years and would generate an average of six billion dollars per year as estimated by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The proposition states that 89 percent of the revenue would go towards K-12 schools, and 11 percent of the revenue would go towards the California Community Colleges.

Schools across California are facing difficult decisions regarding where to make budget cuts, including the City College of San Francisco, which may be subject to closure according to a finding released by the BOT. The cuts are certainly slowing students down and are forcing them take more time when reaching their graduation and transfer goals, said Smith.

Although SMC is less affected by the Federal than the State government, Smith suspects that if Romney took office it would have a negative effect on the grants which the college receives. The grants come from the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, and several other Federal offices.

“Our main focus is still on Prop 30 and how crucial it is; not only its significance to Santa Monica College, but also all other community colleges,” said Smith.

If you are interested in keeping up with the decisions of the Board of Trustees, students can attend the next meeting on Thursday, September 6, and the first meeting after the upcoming election which will be held on Tuesday, November 13.