Education / Schools

State financial crisis team to assist Gavilan College with budget

Reserves have fallen below 5%; drop attributed to decreased student enrollment.

A state Financial Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) is expected to advise Gavilan College on how to adjust its budget when it came to light that reserves have fallen below 5% at an Oct. 19 meeting. Much of the drop is attributed to a decrease in student enrollment. Fall enrollment for 2019 was 4,783 students while fall enrollment for 2020 was 4,014 students. 

Gavilan Superintendent and President Kathleen Rose said that she would like FCMAT to review the community college’s 10-year fiscal snapshot, which has been made available to the Board of Trustees and members of the public.

“The mission of FCMAT is to help California K-14 districts to identify and resolve fiscal issues by coming in and reviewing and providing technical solutions,” Rose said, adding that she would like the team to look at how the college can reduce its structural deficit going forward.

“I’ve been asking for FCMAT since last October,” Trustee Irma Gonzalez told BenitoLink. “I welcome them coming in and advising on the tough decisions that administration leadership is unable or unwilling to make.”

Gonzalez raised the issue during a May 27 budget meeting when trustees discussed a tentative budget with a projected deficit of $9.7 million for the coming school year. Trustees voted to adopt the budget on Sept. 8. The current budget is $35.4 million with expenditures amounting to $33.9 million. Involving FCMAT came to light at the following meeting.

“At a reserve below 5% the state will begin monitoring the fiscal operations and stability of the district,” Rose said on Sept. 8. “The state will monitor all transactions and budget activity. If the district should fall to 3% or below, the state could send financial officers to run the district.” 

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Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.