Academic Senate urges state legislature against block grants

Governor Jerry Brown

By Giselle Palomera

The Academic Senate meeting held yesterday, reviewed the categorical funding issue which Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing be turned into a block grant.

“The Governor of California wishes to consolidate programs which are currently categorically funded into block grant funding, and has requested that the Office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges bring him a proposal in time for the May revision,” according to the agenda.

Categorical funding is the form in which funds are distributed to its respective program within the Los Angeles Community College District.

A block grant is a grant from the central government, which a local government can allocate to a variety of programs and services. The Academic Senate is against changing the way funds are distributed because this could mean that some programs could be getting more while others don’t get enough.

A block grant would mean that all of the funding for each program would be thrown together into one big grant for the programs to take from. The Extended Opportunities Program and Services, Disabled Student Program and Services, and other programs which receive funding from the state would be the ones affected.

This proposes an issue because funds would not be evenly distributed.

According to the meeting’s agenda, the Academic Senate of California Community Colleges affirms that the format of distribution for funds available to underprivileged and disadvantaged students, be kept the way it is. Categorical funds provide a restriction which protects the amount for each program. This ensures that those programs which need more funding than others, receive it accordingly.

The Academic Senate came to two resolutions: that they urge the state legislature to keep the funding at the categorical level and that the categorical funds be used exclusively for the programs specified.

They believe that the block grant would not allow programs like EOPS to thrive.

“EOPS have just recently been restored to 2007-08 levels after years of severe statewide cuts to categorical programs, which has resulted in an approximate 40% reduction in services,” according to the agenda.

For a program like EOPS, 2007 and 2008 were its best years in terms of funding and since then suffered, due to statewide cuts. This block grant can affect the programs recovery in terms of funding, which could disrupt the student success.

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