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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

No Calif. Budget Means No Money For Community Colleges

— California entered a new fiscal year with no budget, and that means the state can’t pay some of its bills. One of the unlucky groups on that list is community colleges.

Community colleges have a few options when they stop getting checks from the state. Chancellor Jack Scott says schools fortunate enough to still have reserves may use those, while others seek out loans. But either way, he says, they lose.

“It does necessitate borrowing money or dipping into reserves, all of which cost the college interest, and all of that means there’s less money to spend on students which is what we’re in the business of.”

Last year community college funding was cut 8 percent. Scott estimates 140,000 students were turned away because of course reductions. He says it’s unfortunate, but late budgets are a fact of life in California.

“It is a hardship on the colleges, it’s no question about it and it’s not a good way to run railroad, but it’s something we’ve learned to live with.”

Lawmakers and Governor Schwarzenegger are split over how to close a $19 billion budget deficit.

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