Although the budget, which has to be passed on final reading at the next board meeting, is almost 12 percent less than last year’s, it still includes a small surplus of slightly more than $47,000.
The reduced budget, says CBC President Dr. Beatriz Espinoza, reflects financial cuts necessitated by reduced state funding and a drop in enrollment that the board attributes to a high-demand Eagle Ford job market, an extended registration period and, for the first time, a requirement that all students obtain an expensive meningitis inoculation.
“The cuts were college-wide,” says Espinoza, “and they are continuing. We’re cutting back on some planned remodeling and limiting out-of-district travel.”
Additionally, part-time employee hours will be reduced and low-attendance classes either are being combined or dropped from the catalog.
“The days of classes with four or five students are over,” Espinoza declares.
A longer term consequence of a smaller budget, she says, is that the college is rethinking the courses it offers, with the goal of offering classes the students need, “rather than offering courses just because we can.”
Espinoza says the proposed budget may have to be “cut a little more” before the next board meeting Aug. 16.
“The budget has been developed,” Espinoza told the board, “with…the constant question — how can be best serve our students with the resources available?”