Passage of the tax initiatives that will appear on the November ballot would probably whack $1.8 million from the Salt Lake Community College budget, leading to decreased class offerings and a 25-30 percent tuition increase.
Members of the SLCC Institutional Council looked at the figures Wednesday and asked staff to prepare some succint responses that will let the public know how the cuts would affect not only the college, but the overall economy of Utah.The total effect on the present budget for Utah's higher education system would be $33.9 million if the 13.3 percent estimates prepared by the state hold true, said Max Lowe, vice president for instruction.
The college prepares students in a variety of vocational areas, and cutbacks now could reduce its effectiveness in helping Utah compete for industry, said council member M. Dale Ensign.
"People need to understand how this will affect them," he said.
The college is preparing a budget that would reflect possible cuts if the initiatives pass.
SLCC already has a dilemma, Lowe said. The college had a 12.8 percent student increase last year, and the demand is continuing to go up. Only a fifth of the growth was funded by the Legislature.
While the Legislature has asked that no caps be put on enrollment, the Board of Regents has warned institutions of higher learning that if they accept more students than they are budgeted to handle, they do so at their own risk.
"We have a challenge we don't know how to meet," Lowe said. "We've been left in limbo. All we can do is try to figure out how to meet both demands and try to get some middle ground."