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L.A. Community College Layoffs

February 21, 1986

The issue in the Los Angeles Community College District fiasco is financial mismanagement.

Monroe Richman, president of the LACCD board of trustees, hit the nail on the head when, in The Times article on Chancellor Koltai, he called the chancellor a second-rate financial administrator. The layoffs, potential layoffs, and furloughs without pay this year are the results of a lack of good management for the last three or four years.

The district has been aware for many years that the number of high school students was going to drop. The district also knew, from past experience, that enrollment decreases when the economy improves. This knowledge coupled with the district's decision to start the fall semester in August and the imposition by the state of a $50 fee for students taking six units or more added up to a clear signal that attendance would drop severely.

Funding for the district is based primarily on average daily attendance. Thus, if attendance goes down, funding goes down. What then would one expect a district to do in such a circumstance?

Would one expect wholesale cuts in classes (a sure-fire way of making the situation worse)? Would one expect a lack of hiring in subjects where there are long waiting lists of students (another sure-fire way of making the situation worse)? Would one expect only small reductions in an over-inflated central office budget when that money is needed to avoid cuts in the income-producing (classes) part of the district's operation?

On top of all this, would one expect a district to virtually destroy the morale of its employees by now placing money in next year's budget to hire new faculty when it is in the process of firing old faculty and to hire new non-teaching staff when it just fired others in January for lack of funding?

The answer to these questions is a resounding no! This is mismanagement of the highest order, the responsibility for which must be placed at the feet of Chancellor Koltai. It's time to let the chancellor go, not let faculty go. If the board of trustees won't do it, then it's time for the voters to change the board members coming up for election this spring.


Canoga Park

Hotop is vice president of the Pierce College Academic Senate.

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