Like me, you were likely dizzied by the developments over the last week. We have been updating our Budget Advocacy Action Center at www.ccleague.net and tweeting the latest news. As you return from the long weekend, here’s the quick rundown of what happened and where we are:
- The full budget committees of both houses adopted modified versions of the governor’s January 10 budget proposal, including $290-293 million in net cuts to community colleges, which would be allocated as a workload reduction, and the fee increases from $26 to $36/unit, effective fall 2011.
- Conference Committee to reconcile the differences between the two houses is expected to convene this week, and then the Big 5–governor and four legislative leaders from both parties–will need to figure out where the votes will come from to put the taxes on the ballot.
- The League released updated projections of the impact on districts of each of the three scenarios under discussion. We hope you’ll stop by and click "recommend" to share the page with your Facebook friends.
- It’s not too late to adopt a resolution supporting the balanced proposal that will avoid $685 million in cuts and protect access for 347,000 students in our colleges. Whether you’re a district, a student government, a union, or a member of another supportive organization, now is the time.
- When you adopt your resolution, please send it to email@example.com.
- Friday was the deadline for legislators to introduce legislation in the 2011 year of the 2011-12 regular session. Our team is busily analyzing the 2,340 introduced bills to determine those affecting community colleges. Look for an updated Bills of Interest shortly after the CEO board meeting this Friday.
- Early Saturday morning, the House of Representatives voted 253-189 to approve HR 1, the continuing resolution that cuts Pell Grants by $5.6 billion, including $203 million from 418,000 California Community College students.
- HR 1 also cuts funds for developing Hispanic Serving Institutions by $100 million and blocks the Department of Education from implementing the controversial "gainful employment" regulations. The regulations are hated by proprietary institutions and have been met with tepid response by community college leaders.
- The vote was partisan, with three Republicans voting "no." California Republican John Campbell voted "no," saying he wanted to see deeper cuts. All other California Republicans voted "yes;" California Democrats voted "no."
- Congress is on break this week, so it’s a great time to call your House member to let them know that you oppose the cut to the maximum Pell Grant and to call Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to urge them to hold strong against cuts to the maximum grant. Our DontCutPellGrants.com website has generated thousands of calls from across the country, and the fight is not over yet. Even if you’ve made your calls, visit the site, and "recommend" it to your Facebook friends!
- Congress has until March 4 to adopt a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown, and the fight is seen as a first-round battle in a series of showdowns leading up to the 2012 presidential election.
We are here to help
As always, our team is here to assist you. If you have questions about the budget or need help advocating for your district, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or just reply to this message and I’ll forward it to the right person.