Rumor Control: Monday Morning Edition

Wednesday, May 14, is a particularly important day for California.

The 14th is the announced date of the "May Revise."  According to the California Department of Finance, the May Revise is an "update of General Fund revenues, expenditures, and reserve estimates based on the latest economic forecast, and changes in population, caseload, or enrollment estimates."  In other words, we find out if the budget picture that's been painted thus far is projected to be better--or worse.

It's no secret, however, that California's 2019-2020 budget "pre-May revise" is in particularly dire circumstances, with a projected $54.3 billion budget deficit. According to this article in EdSource, "A 40% slice of the LAO’s [Legislative Accounting Office] estimated $28 million drop in revenue for the coming year would be $11.2 billion for K-12 and community colleges. That compares with a cut of $7.4 billion in Prop. 98 in 2008-09, the worst single year during the Great Recession."

As a result, the rumors about layoffs and furloughs in the LACCD continue to proliferate. So let's address them.

There have been no discussions with the presidents about any layoffs or furloughs in the District.  Currently, the District reports, as of June 30, 2019, reserves of $66.7 million--approximately 10% of the District's total general fund unrestricted expense projection of $661,615,554.  When the issue of layoffs and furloughs surfaced at District Budget Committee, the membership of more than 30 individuals representing faculty and staff from all nine colleges and the District office received the same answer; i.e., no discussions about layoffs or furloughs.

However, we have to be realistic.  The magnitude of the projected budget deficit will trickle down through the District and to West.  Therefore, you will most likely see a repeat of the initiatives undertaken during the Great Recession: leaving positions vacant, reduction in travel, etc.  At West, we will make every effort to NOT reduce the number of classes we offer.

We'll keep you posted, through College Council, Academic Senate, WLAC's Budget Committee, and other venues (including this blog) so that you'll be fully aware of how the budget is playing out at the local level.