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State at Fault for Woes at Community Colleges

September 22, 2002

Re "Enrollment Rising at State's 2-Year Colleges," Sept. 11:

Your informative article regarding increases in enrollment at community colleges did not explain a significant reason behind the financial pressure on many of them. Why can't students get some classes? State apportionment is a major source of community college revenue. But the state imposes a "growth cap" on each district. If a district's enrollment exceeds that growth cap, the state does not provide the additional funds to educate those students.

For example, the North Orange County Community College District exceeded its growth cap last year by about 1,000 students. We educated those students. The state withheld funds from us for them. This is the epitome of a rock and a hard place. Students need our classes. The state turns its back on their needs. So we have to consider inflating class sizes, cutting programs, cutting staffing, rejecting students or whatever.

This is not a result of the state's recent budget crunch. This has been going on for years. Hopefully, someday the state will provide funds based on the actual community college enrollments. We should not be penalized for our enrollment growth.

Leonard Lahtine

NOCCCD Board of Trustees

Anaheim

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