Copper Mountain College Prepares for State Budget Cuts

    June 23, 2009

    JOSHUA TREE, Ca – Copper Mountain College students and faculty began receiving phone calls late last week informing them that some of the summer classes they had registered for had been cancelled. The cancellations were announced in anticipation of budget cuts and the dismal state revenue projections.  The class cancellations account for approximately 50% of the summer schedule and less drastic cuts can be expected in the fall schedule.  “I want to offer my personal apology to students and faculty for the inconvenience these cancellations may have caused however the state budget crisis and anticipated reduced funding for community colleges leave no alternative” stated CMC President Dr. Roger Wagner.
    The Governor’s budget proposal for 2009-10, released on May 14, includes $581 million in direct cuts for community colleges, plus $117 million in unreimbursed property tax shortfalls and 50% reductions to the categorical programs which provide student services, including disability services, matriculation, basic skills and CalWORKS. With additional cuts to growth funding and a reduction of $85 million for the current year (2008-09, which ends on June 30) Community Colleges could see total budget cuts of $825 million. Community Colleges are not receiving federal stimulus funding, as are the other sectors of education.

    The most recent budget reports from the Community College League of California and the State Chancellor’s Office predict that CMC could see cuts as high as $1.2 million, or 8% of our operating budget.  Included in the proposed cuts is $307,000 from this budget year.  With only two weeks left in the budget year, the only way to respond to this cut is from the college’s reserves.  These proposed cuts to Copper Mountain College come at a time when the demand for our classes is high.  CMC’s spring semester saw a nearly 10% growth from the previous spring semester.  

    “While I do not expect CMC will feel the full impact of the $1.2 million proposed cuts, we are likely to see a significant portion of the cuts,” continues Dr. Wagner.  In anticipation of the looming shortfall the District has taken a number of proactive steps to protect the college’s financial integrity.  In addition to cutting the summer schedule, we have suspended all travel and purchasing that is not mission critical, offered early retirement incentives for some employees, left some positions vacant, and continues to search for other areas where budget cuts can be made.

    The $307,000 losses from this year’s reserves are likely to be followed by an additional $480,000 in losses from the next budget year which begins on July 1st according to officials from the State Chancellor’s Office and the Community College League of California. Should the college take the full brunt of a $1.2 million budget cut it would undoubtedly mean the loss of jobs and significantly impact the college’s ability to provide adequate services to students.

    Dr. Wagner offered the following reassurances, “I ask everyone in the community to please take comfort in knowing that the faculty and staff at CMC remains committed to serving students to the best of our ability.  The strong sense of community that exists at the college leads me to believe that we will weather this storm and emerge a stronger and more vibrant college.”

    For more information regarding Copper Mountain College visit us at or call 760.366.3791.