As a Los Angeles Community College District trustee, it pains me to turn away students from our nine campuses. It is difficult to watch community colleges across California do the same. But we are learning a lesson in economics and politics. As The Times accurately reported in "Tough Times Force Cuts at 2-Year Colleges" (July 22), the community college district is facing financial challenges that are forcing us to limit enrollment and reduce classes.
The LACCD is the best post-secondary education deal in California, and our growing enrollment is proof of that. But our burgeoning enrollment is also our biggest challenge. In Los Angeles, the critical issue is "unfunded growth." This last year, the LACCD enrollment grew 10%, but the district received only a 3% increase in state funding. This meant that the Los Angeles Community College District served 14,000 full-time-equivalent students, or about 22,000 actual students, whom we didn't get funding for.