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Prop 30 failure bad for Merced College

POSTED October 5, 2012 3:52 p.m.

Should Proposition 30 fail in November, Merced College will potentially reduce about 100 class sections from spring 2013 semester to balance its budget.

The reduction represents about 8 percent of usual spring semester offerings, and 4 percent of annual classes.

“Our plan, if fully implemented, will have a big impact on students, faculty and staff,” said Merced College President Dr. Ron Taylor. “But, it is a moderate and measured response to the possibility that Proposition 30 will not pass.”

Proposition 30, supported by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) as a budget-balancing maneuver, would temporarily raise sales tax and increase income taxes on earners making more than $250,000 annually, directing the money to education. If the Proposition fails, California will implement triggered cuts of more than $1 billion to all levels of education.

Merced College’s mid-year “trigger cut” would tally $2.9 million. The college cut $1.4 million from the budget in anticipation of the trigger cut, leaving $1.5 million to reduce via the proposed course reductions.

As class registration begins Oct. 10, before voters decide on Prop 30, Merced College will enroll students into potentially affected classes only through a waitlist. If Prop 30 passes, students will be automatically enrolled in the classes; if it fails, the classes will be cancelled. Students are advised to review their course status after the election, via the online Web Advisor registration system.

If Prop 30 fails, summer session classes will also likely be impacted.

The Merced College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution in support of Prop 30 during its Oct. 2 meeting. That resolution notes that the college has already undergone $3.5 million in cuts since the 2009-2010 school year, turning away as many as 8,320 potential students each year due to course reductions.

The college will hold two student forums on Oct. 8 at 2 and 6:30 p.m. in room 111 of the Lesher Student Services Center to discuss the potential cuts.

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