In its analysis of the governor's May budget revision, the state Legislative Analyst's Office says the Legislature should reduce funding for colleges and universities in order to help spare state welfare and child care programs.
The nonpartisan analyst's report recommends suspending the minimum funding guarantee to community colleges under Proposition 98 and targets physical education courses at the colleges.
Legislative Analyst's OfficeLegislative analyst Mac Taylor
Proposition 98 is the main source of funding for K-12 schools and community colleges.
"Given the state budget situation, there is a real question whether California can afford to fund the current–law Proposition 98 minimum funding level," the analysis reads.
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor also said in a press conference that lawmakers could target universities for reductions and could increase community college fees.
The report recommended targeted cuts at the colleges, including reduced funding for credit-bearing physical education courses. The analyst's office recommended the same thing last year.
Scott Lay, president of the Community College League of California, called the analyst's recommendation misguided. While physical education courses are "easy targets," they are part of the general education curriculum, like art courses, he said.
"We're also concerned that community college students are made second-class citizens. When we're funding state-of-the art facilities for physical fitness at four-year universities, to say that community college students shouldn't have a very basic level of physical education courses is unfair," Lay said.
Lay said he agreed the colleges need to prioritize high-need programs, such as those that benefit the unemployed.
Although the final numbers on course cuts are not yet available, several colleges have cut physical education classes as part of their overall budget reduction efforts, Lay said.