In sharp contrast to the raucous meeting last week where audience members scuffled with Pasadena City College police and shouted at school officials, on Wednesday the college board of trustees adopted a budget without so much as a jeer, despite cutting nearly 600 of the school's 4,800 classes.
The $111-million budget includes $4-million worth of cuts for part-time teachers and other hourly employees while projecting that a controversial change to campus scheduling will save another $589,000. The board voted at an Aug. 29 meeting to cancel the school's short winter session in favor of an earlier start for the spring semester and an expanded summer term.
That decision prompted objections from leaders of PCC's faculty union and a number of students, who argued the college should tap its reserves and cut other spending in order to preserve winter classes.
Campus police officers ejected four people from the Aug. 29 meeting at PCC's Community Education Center and arrested one man for allegedly striking an officer. Tensions also spilled outside the building, where a teacher and others who had been locked out of the packed meeting room clashed with police in a doorway.
A teenage police cadet was struck in the back of the head as people struggled to push past him, according to PCC Police Chief Stan Perez. Eduardo Cairo, an assistant professor of social sciences, complained to board members this week that he was injured during the confrontation.
While more than 130 people attended the Aug. 29 meeting, about 30 people attended Wednesday's gathering in a community room at Robins0on Park.
PCC Faculty Assn. Treasurer Daniel Hamman said the school should dip into financial reserves to fund many of the classes being eliminated.
“Dipping into [reserves] during difficult economic times to provide a few more classes is what reserves are for,” Hamman said.
Board members had ordered administrators not to tap the college's roughly $20 million in reserves, said PCC President Mark Rocha.
The school has spent $22.6 million over the past five years paying for classes not funded by the state, according to school Vice President Bob Miller.
Trustees Jeanette Mann and John Martin said reserves must remain intact to see the college through cash-flow shortages caused by delays in payments from the state. Without money in the bank, the college would risk going into debt and cutting classes in future years to finance that debt, Martin said.
Trustee Berlinda Brown said she hoped the calm nature of Wednesday's budget discussion signaled reduced tensions on campus and a return to board meetings “where we're learning from and listening to each other.”
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