A predicted $800 million budget cut to California's community colleges would deny 400,000 students enrollment in the upcoming academic year and cut thousands of classes, many of which are already over-capacity, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
The ten percent budget cut -- double the amount initially proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown -- would be catastrophic, according to community college officials. "This is a tremendous tragedy, and a very deep blow to the economy of California," Community College Chancellor Jack Scott said in a news briefing. He described the budget cuts as prompting a frightening series of events. "Students seeking to transfer to Cal State and the University of California will be denied access, those students unable to get into Cal State and UC and who desperately need to get into a community college will be denied, as well as those who are out of work and are coming to us for retraining," he said.
According to the Los Angeles Times, some consequences of the cut would include forcing Long Beach City College to abandon 222 courses in the fall, the three community colleges in the San Diego district to ditch at least 1,000 courses and community colleges throughout California to stop offering summer classes.
San Diego Community College Chancellor Constance Carroll told the Times that the decreased enrollment capacity and lack of course offerings would drive students out of California, prompting a brain drain that would further exacerbate the state's economic crisis.
To protest the devastating cuts, community college students in the Los Angeles area participated in a "die-in" in which they lay on the ground holding tombstones that read "Here Lies California Education."
A $10 increase in cost per unit -- $36 per unit starting fall 2011 -- has been approved, with other budgetary changes to the community college system pending.