Published May 18, 2021

To the Shasta College Community:

In this final week of the semester, I cannot help but reflect upon the amazing effort that has been put in by the college community to deliver services and learning opportunities to our students.  Thank you one and all for all the little, and big, things you have done this past year.  I look forward to Friday’s modified commencement ceremony where we can celebrate many of our students’ achievements. 

COVID Update
Our staff in the EOC is working hard to keep track of the changing guidance that keeps coming as we plan on our classified and administrators to be back by August 1st.  There are still many unknowns, but we expect those to clear up over the coming weeks as guidance gets clarified.  Just for example, the CDC made announcements late last week changing their guidance for face coverings for those vaccinated, but today the Governor clarified that for California, the plan is to keep the face covering requirements in place until June 15. The California Department of Public Health outlines the guidance as: For fully vaccinated persons, face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings. For unvaccinated persons, face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings. In indoor settings outside of one's home, including public transportation, face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status (with some exceptions). Personally, I encourage people to get vaccinated.  The personal relief from worry I felt two weeks after my second dose was amazing. Please continue to be patient with us as we apply the various guidance changes and clarify what they mean for the related requirements for Shasta College over time.

State Budget
Oh what a difference a year makes.  At this time last year we were digesting the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 budget in his May Revise (PDF) in which he proposed a 10% cut to our funding.  I am told that state workers, including Chancellor’s Office staff, are still on two day a month furloughs through the end of this fiscal year, while we ended up having to manage $10.5 million in deferrals (over 20% of our general fund budget).  This year’s May revise is vastly different.  The Governor’s proposal includes, for the first time I know of, that the unfunded COLA for current year be made up next year for community colleges – specifically he proposes a 4.05% COLA to our funding formula for 2021-22. There are also proposed increases to funding of SEAP (5%) and Strong Workforce programs (5%).  This will be, if enacted in the final budget at the end of June, very helpful for these categorical programs as they have not had increased funding since their inception.  There are many one-time funding proposals to digest and unpack, including 

  • $150 million to continue supporting guided pathways work 
  • $115 million for zero cost textbooks
  • $100 million one-time to help us retain and reengage students, up from the $20 million in the early action law passed earlier this spring 
  • $250 million one-time for direct aid to students, up from the $100 million passed earlier this spring. 
  • $20 million for increased faculty professional development
  • $314 million for deferred maintenance
  • $50 million to assist in transitioning back to in-person education

Overall, the Governor’s proposal is for $486 million more in on-going spending and $1.784 billion in one-time spending for community colleges. There are many more line items I will not describe in this email. In the meantime, you can review a joint analysis of the Governor’s May Revise as it relates to community colleges in the attached document.  Overall, we are in a much better place with the main worry being regaining lost students as we are down about 19% in enrollment this year compared to 2019-20.  But there is hope there too, with the one-time additional funds to help us reengage students and with the hold harmless emergency provisions where we will not lose funding until 2022-23 for the 70% of the funding formula based on FTES (we can lose funding on 30% of the formula related to the number of low income student numbers and the various success metrics such as number of degrees/certificates granted).

Again, in closing I want to recognize all of you and your service to our students.  Shasta College is an amazing institution and makes a real difference for our community by helping our students, one at a time.  Thank you once more, and please be sure to make some time for personal renewal and refreshment this summer!

Joe Wyse
Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District
11555 Old Oregon Trail
Redding, CA 96049-6006