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Summer School Hinges on Pay Cut


GLENDALE — Summer school might be put on the chopping block this year as the Glendale Community College District gets ready for another round of state budget cuts.

Administrators are looking at a variety of ways to make up a projected budget shortfall of 2% to 6% next fiscal year, including freezing or cutting teacher salaries, reducing operating costs, laying off temporary or hourly workers, and cutting back programs.

The first thing that will be decided, administrators say, is the future of the summer school program, which could be spared if the faculty votes next week to take a pay cut. Canceling summer school would save $725,000.

Many students, especially those needing to finish course work before transferring to four-year schools, have protested an administration proposal to cut the summer session.

"We're all upset over the budget cuts," said Coni Petrovich, a 40-something welfare mother from Tujunga who credits her almost-free education at Glendale College for giving her the confidence to pursue a career in the environment and politics.

"There were times I could barely afford books for my classes," she said, noting that many of the 20,000 students have limited budgets. "I would stand in the bookstore and read the books there."

Teachers, administrators and students have come up with a plan to save summer school under which teachers would take a 20% pay cut and students would pay more for summer classes.

The faculty will vote on the proposal Monday. If teachers reject the pay cut, summer school will be canceled, college Controller Sam Black said.

After the summer school issue is decided, administrators must figure out how to make up the 2% to 6% shortfall they expect based on Gov. Pete Wilson's proposed budget for 1993-94.

"Our first problem is that we don't know how much money we are going to have," said Larry Serot, vice president of administrative services at Glendale College.

Wilson has called for an 11% cut in community college funding and an increase in student fees to make up most of the shortfall. The college received $27.6 million, or about 84% of its $32.8-million operating budget, from the state in 1993.

Starting next fall, each course unit would cost $30, compared to $10 now and $6 in the late 1980s. Students carrying a full 12-unit load would spend $360 a semester as opposed to $120 a semester.

Some students said fee increases would prevent them from continuing their education.

"I know a lot of people who won't be coming back to school because they can't afford a tuition increase," said Olga Iraheta, 21, a native of El Salvador studying to be a teacher.

The college is looking at a number of ways to cut costs, Serot said, including renegotiating teacher salaries, which range from a low of $28,000 a year to $57,000 a year.

Steve White, an economics professor who heads the faculty union representing about 700 full- and part-time teachers, said salary talks will not begin until Wilson's budget is finalized.

Serot said operating costs for supplies, equipment and maintenance already have been cut by 30% over the past two years.

"We don't repair buildings and we don't replace things when they get broken," Serot said. "Obviously, the quality of education suffers when you do that."

The administration also has reviewed the school's programs and found some of them to be "reducible," Serot said, adding that he did not want to give any examples "because I don't want to get anyone upset."

And the college might cut back on the use of temporary and hourly employees, many of whom are students hired to assist with clerical work, Serot said.

While students, faculty and administrators work toward solutions to some of the budget problems, a sense of frustration is evident on the campus.

"I can't understand how the state can cut on education," student Feliz de la Rosa wrote in the school newspaper, La Vaquera.

"If the costs go up, then many students may drop out due to lack of funds. I hope the governor wakes up and realizes the damage he can do to the young people of America!"

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