Budget creates unrest

Katie Mastro

Underneath the surface of apparent stability, a startling budget crisis has been brewing at Saddleback and Irvine Valley College.

Budget issues have arisen recently in connection to the 50 percent law, which states California community colleges must have the salaries of classroom instructors, divided by the current expense of education, be equal to or greater than 50 percent. It has just been noted that the district’s percentage has barely dropped below said figure.

“The district office has been looking at this for the past year,” said Glenn Roquemore, president of IVC. “The percentage has been steadily declining for the past five years.”

This is an issue for multiple reasons, one being that the identified instruction disregards counselors and librarians and excludes reassigned time. Moreover, the law has been heavily weighted on IVC’s shoulders.

“ATEP has attached to us, as opposed to Saddleback,” said IVC classified senate president, Gee Dickson. “We’re good, but we can’t overextend ourselves.”

The administration at IVC feels this issue is clearly an outside force at work.

“It is not this college that is driving this issue,” Roquemore said. “There must be some other factor that’s been happening for five years. We want to analyze everything before we pick a reasonable solution. We do not want to continually have to solve this problem.”

The fact that this is a revolving issue makes it hard to pin down with one effortless stroke.

“It is a hard calculation to come by,” said budget manager for ATEP and District Director of Fiscal Services, Beth Mueller. “We are working on it, examining it, but it is a moving target.”

The administration will be asking for an extension for an application for exemption. It is in the state’s hands to select cohorts, calculate, and judge if the district qualifies.

“The state determines the cohorts to the best of my knowledge,” Mueller said. “The exemption process requires compliance by year 08/09. If we are given exemption, by the second year, we need to come up with a plan, and by the third year, we need to implement that plan.”

But what many instructors are upset about is why they have only recently been informed of this questionable issue, especially when it had been known that the percentage had been evidently declining for at least five years.